Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Education, Busitema University, Tororo, Uganda.
Background: The prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum and Intestinal Parasitic Infections (IPIs) - with the corresponding pathogenesis among children remain uncertain. This study aimed at determining the prevalence and the outcomes (including anaemia) of the respective infections and co-infections. Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells transporting oxygen to the various body parts is not sufficient to meet the needs of the body.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study conducted among 476-refugee camp school children. Kato-Katz technique was used to screen stool samples for intestinal parasites. Microscopy was used for malaria testing while the portable Haemoglobin (Hb) calorimeter was used to measure haemoglobin concentration.
Results: The overall prevalence of the mixed infections was 63.03%. Plasmodium falciparum was most prevalent of the single infections 262(55.04%) followed by Taenia spp. 14 (2.9%), Schistosoma mansoni 12(2.5%), Giardia lamblia 7 (2.9%), Trichuris trichiura 2(0.4%), Hookworm 2(0.4%) and Strongyloides stercoralis 1(0.2%). The odds of developing simple or uncomplicated malaria infection or anaemia was 14 times higher in individuals with dual co-infection with Plasmodium falciparum + Taenia sp. compared to single parasitic infection (Odds = 14.13, P = 0.019). Co-infection with Plasmodium falciparum + Taenia spp, was a strong predictor of Malaria and anaemia.
Conclusion: This study shows that Plasmodium falciparum and Taenia spp. co-infections is a stronger predictor of malaria and anaemia. The prevalence of malaria and anaemia remains higher than the other regions in Uganda outside restricted settlements. The findings of this study underline the need for pragmatic intervention programmes to reduce burden of the co-infections in the study area and similar settlements.
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