Malnutrition and intestinal parasitic infections in school children of Gondar, North West Ethiopia

Department of Nutrition, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, P. O. Box 196, Gondar, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian medical journal 01/2009; 47(1):9-16.
Source: PubMed


In developing countries, malnutrition is a considerable health problem with prevalence ranges of 4-46%, with 1-10% severely malnourished.
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of malnutrition and intestinal parasitoses and identify risk factors of malnutrition in schoolchildren.
A cross-sectional study was carried out on 322 schoolchildren, of age 6 to 14 years, attending private and government primary schools, in Gonder town, North West Ethiopia. The study was conducted from December 2006 to February 2007. Nutritional status of these children was determined using anthropometric parameters (weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height). Epi Info 2000 software was used to evaluate anthropometric results of each individual and formol-ether concentration technique was employed to identify parasites.
The prevalence of underweight, stunting, wasting and intestinal parasitoses was 34.8%, 27%, 50% and 55.6%, respectively. Parasites encountered during the study were Ascaris lumbricoides (17.8%), Trichuiris trichiura (3.4%), hookworm (4.3%), Giardia lamblia (9%), Entamoeba histolytica (2.1%), Schistosoma mansoni (2.4%), Hymenolepis nana (4.7%) and Enterobius vermicularis (0.31%), respectively, in single infections. Only two cases of Strongyloides stercoralis was found in multiple infections and none in single infections. The prevalence of multiple parasitoses was 10.9%. Maternal literacy status, sex and age of the child were significantly associated with malnutrition (p < 0.05).
Even though chronic type of malnutrition (stunting) was decreasing, indicators of acute type of malnutrition were increasing at a higher rate in the area. Implementation of maternal education and school feeding programs, avoidance of students from getting in contact with waste and river water were recommended to avoid malnutrition and intestinal parasitoses in children of the study area.

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    • "In developing countries, this infection is frequently associated with malnutrition, representing a significant cause of child developmental retardation. On the other hand, in most developing countries, there are public school feeding programs designed to avoid malnutrition focusing on complementary nutrition, child intestinal parasite control or both35. Therefore, the present study was an attempt to investigate the effect of probiotic supplementation on the modulation of helminth infection using a murine model. "
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    ABSTRACT: The administration of viable Bifidobacterium animalis was tested to induce resistance against Strongyloides venezuelensis infection in mice. Effects on parasite burden, worm length, egg output, and intestinal mucosal histology were evaluated. The oral administration of B. animalis, strain 04450B, starting 14 days before the inoculation of nematode larvae significantly decreased the worm burden and egg output. In probiotic treated animals, the percent reduction of adult worms in the intestine was of 33% and the reduction of egg production was of 21%, compared with those of the control group. The duodenum villous height and villous/crypt ratio were significantly higher in probiotic-treated mice, indicating that this group could be experiencing less intestinal damage. The present findings revealed that the administration of B. animalis for the amelioration of host response to nematode infections is biologically plausible and could have some potential for impacting public health. Meanwhile, further study is needed to delineate the nature and identity of the factor(s) involved in these beneficial effects.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
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    • "Intestinal parasites are highly prevalent among schoolchildren (55.6%-72.9%) in Northwest Ethiopia [28,29]. The present study however showed a relatively low prevalence of parasitosis (22.7%) comparable to the report from the study conducted in Babile town, eastern Ethiopia [30]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Parasitic infections have been shown to have deleterious effects on host nutritional status. In addition, although helmintic infection can modulate the host inflammatory response directed against the parasite, a causal association between helminths and allergy remains uncertain. The present study was therefore designed to evaluate the relationship between nutritional status, parasite infection and prevalence of allergy among school children. Methods A cross sectional study was performed involving school children in two elementary schools in Gondar, Ethiopia. Nutritional status of these children was determined using anthropometric parameters (weight-for-age, height-for-age and BMI-for-age). Epi-Info software was used to calculate z-scores. Stool samples were examined using standard parasitological procedures. The serum IgE levels were quantified by total IgE ELISA kit following the manufacturer’s instruction. Result A total of 405 children (with mean age of 12.09.1 ± 2.54 years) completed a self-administered allergy questionnaire and provided stool samples for analysis. Overall prevalence of underweight, stunting and thinness/wasting was 15.1%, 25.2%, 8.9%, respectively. Of the total, 22.7% were found to be positive for intestinal parasites. The most prevalent intestinal parasite detected was Ascaris lumbricoides (31/405, 7.6%). There was no statistically significant association between prevalence of malnutrition and the prevalence of parasitic infections. Median total serum IgE level was 344 IU/ml (IQR 117–2076, n = 80) and 610 IU/ml (143–1833, n = 20), respectively, in children without and with intestinal parasite infection (Z = −0.198, P > 0.8). The prevalence of self reported allergy among the subset was 8%. IgE concentration was not associated either with the presence of parasitic infection or history of allergy. Conclusion The prevalence of malnutrition, intestinal parasitism and allergy was not negligible in this population. In addition, there was no significant association between the prevalence of allergy and their nutritional status, and parasite infection. Further research prospective observational and intervention studies are required to address the question of causality between nutritional factors, parasites, and allergy.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Pediatrics
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    • "For children in developing countries, malnutrition is a considerable health problem with prevalence rates estimated to range from 4% to 46% with 1% to 10% severely malnourished [37]. The results of this study show that the prevalence of stunting observed among school children was 23%, which was in agreement with a finding from the study conducted among preschool children (24%) in northwest Ethiopia [38]. However, it was much lower compared to previous findings in Gumbrit (50%) in Ethiopia [39]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Several micronutrients are essential for adequate growth of children. However, little information is available on multiple micronutrient status of school children in Ethiopia. The present study was designed to evaluate the relationship between multiple micronutrient levels and nutritional status among school children. Method In this cross-sectional study, anthropometric data, blood and stool samples were collected from 100 children at Meseret Elementary School in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia. Serum concentration of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. Anthropometric indices of weight-for-age, height-for-age and BMI-for-age were used to estimate the children's nutritional status. Stool samples were examined by standard microscopic methods for intestinal parasites. Results The prevalence of stunting, underweight, wasting and intestinal parasitoses among school children was 23%, 21%, 11% and18%, respectively. The mean serum levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and molybdenum were 2.42±0.32 (mg/dl), 15.31±2.14 (mg/dl), 328.19±148.91 (μg/dl), 191.30±50.17 (μg/dl), 86.40±42.40 (μg/dl), 6.32±2.59 (μg/dl), and 0.23±0.15 (μg/dl), respectively. Selenium deficiency, zinc deficiency and magnesium deficiency occurred in 62%, 47%, and 2% of the school children, respectively. Height-for-age showed significant positive correlation with the levels of copper and molybdenum (p = 0.01) and with the levels of magnesium (p = 0.05). Conclusion Deficiencies of selenium and zinc were high among the school children although the deficiencies were not significantly related with their nutritional status. The prevalence of both malnutrition and intestinal parasitism was not negligible. These calls for the need to undertake multicentre studies in various parts of the country to substantiate the data obtained in the present study so that appropriate and beneficial strategies for micronutrient supplementation and interventions on nutritional deficiencies can be planned.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Nutrition Journal
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