Assessment of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections among Pregnant Women in Western Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Study
Intestinal geo-helminths are among the common human infections in the developing world. Preschool and school-age children in Kenya have been targeted for deworming strategies through the National School-Based Deworming Program leaving out vulnerable groups including pregnant women. We conducted this study to assess the prevalence and intensity of worm infections and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Western Kenya. A cross-sectional study was carried out among 250 pregnant women seeking antenatal care services from selected health facilities in Vihiga County. Stool samples were collected and examined for soil transmitted helminths (STH) using the Kato-Katz technique and structured questionnaires were administered to determine associated risk factors. Statistical analysis was done using STATA version 14.1. Differences in proportions by age and health facility were assessed using Chi-square (χ2) test and differences in means using the student t-test. Prevalence of STHs was 12.4% (95%CI: 9.1%-16.9%). Infection caused by hookworm was 2.4% (95%CI: 1.2% - 4.7%), Ascaris lumbricoides 9.6% (95%CI: 6.3% - 14.6%), Trichuris trichiura 2.0% (95%CI: 0.8% - 5.3%). The mean intensity of hookworm infection was 101 (95%CI: 8 -1355), A. lumbricoides 375 (95%CI: 107 - 1308), and T. trichiura 3 (95%CI: 0 - 29). Univariable analysis of factors associated with infection did not reveal any significant associations. Participants with primary level of education had higher odds of T. trichiura infection compared to other participants (OR=2.58, p=0.400). Farming had higher odds of STH and A. lumbricoides infections (OR=3.47, p=0.076) and (OR=3.75, p=0.089) respectively compared to other occupations. Participants in the second trimester of pregnancy had higher odds of hookworm infection (OR=3.36, p=0.272) those with children under three years had higher odds of T. trichiura infection (OR=3.60, p=0.165). The study revealed that STH infection is prevalent among pregnant women in Vihiga although there were no significant risk factors associated with the infection. Therefore, health facilities should conduct deworming and testing for STH also they should provide health education on the risks of getting infected.
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