Prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths and associated risk factors among primary school children in Kandahar, Afghanistan: A cross-sectional analytical study

Bilal Ahmad Rahimi, Najeebullah Rafiqi, Zarghoon Tareen, Khalil Ahmad Kakar, Mohammad Hashim Wafa, Muhammad Haroon Stanikzai, Mohammad Asim Beg, Abdul Khaliq Dost, Walter R. Taylor

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are global health problem, especially in low-income countries. Main objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence and intensity of STH and its risk factors among school children in Kandahar city of Afghanistan. Methodology/principal findings This was a school-based cross-sectional analytical study, with data collected during eight-month-period (May–December, 2022) from 6-and 12-years old school children in Kandahar city, Afghanistan. All the stool samples were examined by saline wet mount method and Kato–Katz technique. Data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics, Chi square test, and multivariate logistic regression. A total of 1275 children from eight schools of Kandahar city were included in this study. Mean age of these children was 8.3 years with 53.3% boys. The overall prevalence of any intestinal parasitic infection was 68.4%. The overall prevalence of STH infection was 39.1%, with Ascaris lumbricoides (29.4%) as the most prevalent STH species. Mean intensity of overall STH infection was 97.8. Multivariate logistic regression revealed playing barefoot (AOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2), not washing hands after defecating and before eating (AOR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0–1.7), having untrimmed nails (AOR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1–1.8), and belonging to poor families (AOR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0–1.7) as the risk factors associated with the predisposi-tion of school children for getting STH in Kandahar city of Afghanistan. Conclusions/significance There is high prevalence of STH among school children of Kandahar city in Afghanistan. Most of the risk factors are related to poverty, decreased sanitation, and improper hygiene. Improvement of socioeconomic status, sanitation, and health education to promote public awareness about health and hygiene together with periodic mass deworming programs are better strategies for the control of STH infections in Afghanistan.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0011614
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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