The Health Impact of Intestinal Helminth Infections among Podoconiosis Patients in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Bereket, Alemayehu (2011) The Health Impact of Intestinal Helminth Infections among Podoconiosis Patients in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Masters thesis, Addis Ababa University.

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Intestinal helminth infections are most common diseases of the poor and a potential cause of anemia in developing countries. Podoconiosis is a non-filarial “elephantiasis” of the lower legs in farmers that work on loamy clay soil and is a chronic complication that does not have effective treatment. Soil contact being the mode of transmission of geo-helminths and the cause of podoconiosis, the aim of this study was to investigate the health impact of helminth infections on podoconiosis patients in Wolaita Zone, southern Ethiopia. A total of 480 (384 podoconiosis patients and 96 controls) study participants were enrolled in the study. The study showed an overall prevalence of 57.8% helminth parasites among podoconiosis patients and 37.5% among the controls. Out of the helminth positive podoconiosis patients, 3.9% had triple and more infections, 12.8% double and 41.1% had single infections. Among the control study participants, triple and more infections were rare (1%), whereas 7.3% double and 29.2% single infections were detected. Shoe wearing in relation to hookworm infection among the podoconiosis patients was assessed and most had no practice of appropriate shoe wearing. Hemoglobin (Hgb) and Hematocrit determination techniques used to determine anemia showed mean Hgb value between podoconiosis patients (12.85±1.69) and controls (14.71±1.69) to be significantly different (P<0.05) showing that more podoconiosis patients were anemic. On the whole, anemia was twice as likely among helminth-infected podoconiosis patients than their helminth-free counterparts. Furthermore, hookworm-infected podoconiosis patients were 3.4 times more likely to be anemic than hookworm infected non-podoconiosis individuals (P<0.05). Double helminth infections, with hookworm included, further increased the risk of being anemic among podoconiosis patients (OR=3.9, P=0.032, 95% CI=1.124, 13.523). On the other hand, the overall prevalence of intestinal geo-helminth infection decreased with increasing clinical stages of podoconiosis, implying that with severe and complicated podoconiosis, the individual would be seriously incapacitated to work on the farm and hence will have a limited contact with soil to be exposed to helminth infections. The study has provided good evidence to justify selective initiation of deworming and iron rich nutrient supplementation to improve the wellbeing of podoconiosis patients under resource poor conditions in Wolaita.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Podoconiosis, Helminths, Anemia, Hookworm, Wolaita
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Selom Ghislain
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 12:37
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 12:38

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