Malaria and soil-transmitted helminths are common parasitic diseases found in schoolchildren in sub-Saharan Africa. We determined the prevalence and intensities of these infections in apparently healthy schoolchildren living in Mfou health district, where malaria and intestinal infections are among the first causes of morbidity. In a cross-sectional study involving 503 schoolchildren, anthropometric parameters were measured. Finger-prick blood and fresh stool samples were collected for malaria parasites determination, assessment of anaemia and detection of helminths’ eggs. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between these infections and other factors. Overall, 40.6 and 29.6% of children harboured malaria parasites and worms respectively. Prevalences of mild, moderate and severe undernutrition were respectively 22.2, 2.3 and 0.5% for underweight, and 21.9, 7.6 and 2.0% for stunting. In logistic regression analysis, anaemia (OR=2.64, 95% CI: 1.71-4.07) and infection with Ascaris lumbricoides (OR=1.72, 95% CI: 1.01-2.91) were significantly associated with malaria infection. Infection with Trichuris trichiura was significantly associated with increased risks of underweight (OR=2.11, 95% CI: 1.11-4.01). Moreover, rural schoolchildren showed increased chances of carrying worms, compared to their urban counterparts (OR=2.60, 95% CI: 1.75-3.86). Malaria prevention and school-based deworming activities should be re-enforced in Mfou health district to reduce the burden of these infections in children.
Key words: Malaria, soil-transmitted helminths, undernutrition, schoolchildren, Mfou, Cameroon.
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