Soil transmitted helminthiasis (STH) represents a major public health problem in tropical regions. In many countries including Senegal, STH control strategies usually involve mass deworming campaigns. This study was carried out to assess the prevalence and distribution of intestinal parasites among children, several years after the initiation of mass deworming campaigns with mebendazole in Senegal. A cross sectional survey was conducted in 8 villages located in the Southeastern part of Senegal. Children younger than 10 years old were sampled using a two level random sampling technique. Stool samples were collected from each participant after clinical assessment. Parasites detection was done by light microscopy using a modified Ritchie technique. Among the 1,163 surveyed children, 353 were found with at least one intestinal parasite species representing an overall prevalence of 30.4% (IC95%: 27.3 to 33.7). Proportion of children with protozoan infections was 29.6% (95%CI: 26.9 to 32.3); a small fraction of children were found with helminthic infestations (0.8%) (95%CI: 0.3 to 1.4). The identified parasites were represented by Giardia intestinalis (17.7%), Entameoba coli (14%), Endolimax nana (0.86%), Hookworm (0.52%), Ascaris lumbricoides (0.17%), and Hymenolepis nana (0.34%). This study revealed a low prevalence of helminthic infestations while protozoan infections remained high. This changing profile in the epidemiology of intestinal parasitic infections among children may require revision of the current deworming policy programme. However, extensive data at the national level are needed to support modification of strategy.
Key words: Helminths, protozoan, children, Senegal.
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