Background. Distribution of malaria and intestinal helminths is known to overlap in developing tropical countries of the world. Co-infections with helminth and malaria parasites cause a significant and additive problem against the host. The aim of this study was to asses the prevalence of malaria/helminth co-infection and the associated problems among febrile outpatients that attended Alaba Kulito Health Center, southern Ethiopia November and December 2007. A total of 1802 acute febrile patients were diagnosed for malaria. 458 Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films were used for identification of Plasmodium species and Stool samples prepared using Kato-Katz technique were used to examine for intestinal helminths. Haemoglobin concentration was measured using a portable spectrophotometer (Hemocue HB 201). Anthropometry-based nutritional assessment of the study participants was done by measuring body weight to the nearest 0.1 kg and height to the nearest 0.1 cm. Findings. 458 of the total febrile patients were positive for malaria. Co infection with Plasmodium and helminth parasites is associated with significantly (p < 0.001) higher anaemia prevalence than single infection with Plasmodium parasites. And this difference was also significant for haemoglobin concentration (F = 10.18, p = 0.002), in which patients co infected with Plasmodium and helminth parasites showed lower mean haemoglobin concentration. More than one-third of the infected cases in both malaria infections and malaria/helminth co infections are undernourished. However the statistics for the difference is not significant. Conclusion. Malaria and soil-transmitted helminthiasis obviously contribute to anaemia and low weight status and these conditions are more pronounced in individuals concurrently infected with malaria and soil-transmitted helminths. Hence, simultaneous combat against the two parasitic infections is very crucial to improve health of the affected communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)