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Soil transmitted helminths and associated factors among schoolchildren in government and private primary school in Jimma Town, Southwest Ethiopia.

BACKGROUND: Soil transmitted helminth infections are among the most common human infections. They are distributed throughout the world with high prevalence rates in tropical and sub-tropical countries mainly because of lack of adequate sanitary facilities, inappropriate waste disposal systems, lack of safe water supply, and low socio-economic status.

METHODS: A comparative cross sectional study was conducted from December 2011 to June 2012 to determine and assess the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths and their associated factors among government and private primary school children. Stool samples were collected from 369 randomly selected children and examined microscopically for eggs of soil transmitted helminth following McMaster techniques. Soil samples were collected from different parts of the school compound and microscopic examination was performed for eggs of the helminths using sodium nitrate flotation technique.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence rate of soil transmitted helminth infections in private and government schools was 20.9% and 53.5% respectively. T. trichiura was the most common soil transmitted helminth in both schools while hookworm infections were identified in government school students only. Type of school and sex were significantly associated with soil transmitted helminth. Soil contamination rate of the school compounds was 11.25% with predominant parasites of A. lumbricoides.

CONCLUSION: Higher prevalence of soil transmitted helminth infection was found among government school students. Thus, more focus, on personal hygiene and sanitary facilities, should be given to children going to government schools.

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