Occurrence of Gastrointestinal Parasites among Patients Attending Designated Tuberculosis Clinics in Rivers State, Nigeria
Diseases of gastrointestinal parasites remain a major public health concern. This study was aimed at determining the occurrence of gastrointestinal parasites among patients attending designated tuberculosis clinics in Rivers State, Nigeria. The clinics included Chest clinic, Rumuigbo, General hospital, Ahoada and Meridian hospital. The study was conducted between July 2020 and August 2021. Stool and blood samples were collected from 1288 participants and examined for the presence of ova, cysts, oocyst and trophozoites of gastrointestinal parasites using formol-ether concentration and Modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining techniques. ELISA was used to examine the blood samples for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia lamblia. Out of the 1288 patients examined, 580 (45%) were infected and this was statistically significant (p<0.05). Gastrointestinal parasites identified included Ancyclostoma spp., Ascaris lumbricoides, Cryptosporidium spp, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia. Cryptosporidium spp. was the most prevalent (p<0.05). Females had a higher prevalence (55.9%) than males (44.1%), and the age group 11-20 years were most infected. The occurrence of gastrointestinal parasite infection was higher in the wet season (p<0.05). Sources of drinking water and housing types were risk factors that had a significant influence on the infection (p<0.05). The gastrointestinal parasite was not influenced by the occupation, as well as the educational levels of the participants. The study showed that tuberculosis patients were more infected than non-tuberculosis patients, and occurrence was higher in rural areas than in urban areas; both were significant (p<0.05). Detection of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium using non-ELISA and ELISA techniques were not statistically significant (p>0.05). The study showed a higher prevalence of infection; therefore, there is a need to enhance health education on the mode of transmission of gastrointestinal parasites and improve on personal and environmental hygiene of tuberculosis patients and the population as a whole; to reduce the occurrence of infection
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