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Aim: This present study was conducted to determine the prevalence and intensity of intestinal parasites among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Ebonyi State Nigeria.
Methodology: The study was carried out from April 2011 to March 2012 at two purposively selected hospitals in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Three hundred and sixty pregnant women were randomly selected for this study. Stool samples were examined for intestinal helminths using macroscopic and the microscopic methods. The intensity of the ova was determined directly and graded. Data analysis was performed using Statistical software for social sciences version 20.
Results: Out of the 360 sampled pregnant women, 18.6% was found positive for intestinal helminthic parasites. Three intestinal helminthic parasites isolated were; A. lumbricoides (8.9%), hookworm (6.1%) and T. trichiura (3.6%). The prevalence and intensity were higher during the rainy season than the dry season. First trimester, secundigravidae and (15-20 yrs) age group had the highest prevalence of intestinal helminthic parasites. Pregnant women that ate raw vegetables had a higher prevalence of Ascariasis, trichuriasis and hookworm infection than those that ate cooked vegetables. In relation to source of drinking water, those that got drinking water from river had the highest prevalence of all the parasites. On the type of toilet used, pregnant women who use bush method had the highest prevalence 7(10.9%) for A. lumbricoides and T. trichuria was more prevalent with those who use pit toilet 6(3.8%) while hookworm 12(8.7%), was seen among women using water cistern. In relation to washing of hands after toilet, pregnant women that do not wash hands had higher prevalence of 6(11.5%), 2(3.8%) 6(11.5%) for A. lumbricoides, T. trichuria and hookworm respectively than those that do wash their hands after toilet. Those that ate raw meat had higher prevalence of A. lumbricoides 3(15.8%), T. trichuria 2(10.5%) and hookworm 3(15.79%) than those that did not eat raw meat. Those who walk barefooted had higher prevalence of A. lumbricoides 5(8.3%), T. trichuria 4(6.7%) and hookworm 8(13.3%) than those who do not walk barefooted.
Conclusion: From this study, it is concluded that helminthic parasites are still present in pregnant women at Ebonyi state, therefore there is need to control and prevent their infection so as to eradicate its effects on pregnant women. The creation of awareness on the preventive measures of helminthic infections amongst people in Ebonyi state is urgently needed. Consequently, health education in local languages should be vigorously mounted to create awareness on helminthic diseases.
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