Aim: Diarrhoea has been a common cause of morbidity and mortality in children less than 5years old. This work was intended to see if the level of hygiene is a reflection of the type of water taken by children.
Methods: One hundred and five stool samples were collected from children in two health facilities in Lagos: Ajegunle (52) and Surulere (53) from April to July 2012. The samples from children who had diarrhoea were examined using direct microscopy to detect ova, cysts and motile parasitic agents. Positive samples were further examined using WHO method as detailed in Kato-Katz cellophane technique.
Results: A total parasite prevalence of 51.4%, with 37.1% in males and 14.3% in females was observed. Specific prevalence of individual parasites is as follows, Entamoeba histolytica (32.4%); Ascaris lumbricoides (24.3%); Entamoeba coli (18.9%); Gardia lamblia (10.4%); Hookworm (8.1%) and Trichuris trichura (2.7%). Children that consumed water from open wells were more infected with parasites (17.1%). Lack of deworming programmes and routine clinical check-ups were seen to be significant for parasitic infection and diarrhea in the children in the study.
Conclusion: The study showed that Entamoeba histolytica has contributed more to the cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years than other parasites.
Key words: Diarrhoea, Parasites, Children
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