The aim of the present study is to determine the trend, current prevalence and contributing risk factors of Schistosoma haematobium infections in the Vhembe district, South Africa. A retrospective analysis of previous S. heamatobium data at the hospitals was conducted. A survey was conducted with the use of questionnaires and urine samples collected from hospitals, university students as well as primary school children for microscopic analysis for the detection of S. heamatobium eggs. Data from previous hospital laboratory tests indicated that S. haematobium infections are endemic in the region with prevalence varying between 44 and 90% among patients presenting with urinary tract infections, from 1998 to 2004 with regular peaks in January-February and July-August with an increase in percentage of infected persons during the last two years of the study (2003, 2004). The analysis of samples collected from the hospitals indicated prevalence between 78% in hospital C and 86% at the hospital A with high prevalence of heavy infections. The prevalence among university students and primary school children were 36.2 and 42%, respectively. Although females were more infected than males, the difference was not significant (p > 0.05). The survey indicated lack of knowledge of schistosomiasis among university students, frequent exposure to river water, a percentage of geophagy of 38.4% and low level of personal hygiene. School children are at high risk of infection and control programmes must take them into consideration. Health education is a necessity in the region to sensitise the population about these infections. Further studies are needed to identify infection foci as well as the occurrence of the intermediate hosts in different water bodies in the region. Such information will be useful in the design of control methods which will also contribute to poverty alleviation in the region.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||African Journal of Biotechnology|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Oct 2010|
- Schistosoma haematobium
- South Africa
- Urinary schistosomiasis