The incidence, intensity and host morbidity of human parasitic protozoan infections in gastrointestinal disorder outpatients in Buea Sub Division, Cameroon
Background: Numerous protozoans inhibit the gastrointestinal tract of humans with the majority being either non-pathogenic commensals or of a type that may result in mild disease. However, some of these organisms can cause severe diseases under certain circumstances while others may become highly virulent and invasive causing potentially lethal systemic disease. This study investigated the prevalence, intensity and host morbidity of human intestinal protozoan infections in individuals living in the Buea Sub-Division, Cameroon.
Methodology: Random sampling was used to collect stool samples from 356 patients in a cross-sectional study. All samples were examined by formol-ether concentration and direct smear techniques. Data collected was analyzed and differences in proportions were determined using the Chi square (χ2) test, Fisher's exact test, or analysis of variance where appropriate.
Results: It was found that 28.1% (100/356) of the sampled population were infected with protozoans. Females showed a higher infection rate (29.7%; 56/182) than males (26.4%; 46/174) and there was a significantly (P < 0.001) higher prevalence in rural areas (38.7%; 55/142) than in urban areas (21.0%; 45/214). The 6 to 12 years age group had a significantly (P < 0.05) higher infection rate (42.9%; 30/70). The total prevalence of intestinal protozoans was as follows: E. histolytica (24.4%), E. coli (11.2%) and G. lamblia (0.6%). The most prevalent morbidity effects associated with intestinal protozoan infections were abdominal pains, dysentery and body weakness.Conclusions: Since human intestinal parasitic infections are high in the study area, mass treatment of people with intestinal protozoans is strongly recommended, especially in the rural areas where the prevalence was very high.
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