Malaria, schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminth burden and their correlation with anemia in children attending primary schools in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Van geertruyden, Jean-Pierre
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
, 11 p.
University of Antwerp
Background: Anaemia reduces cognitive potential in school children, retards their growth and predisposes them to other diseases. As there is a paucity of data on the current burden of P. falciparum, S. mansoni and soil transmitted helminths (STH) infections and their correlation with schoolchildren's anemia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we collect these data. Methods: This study reports baseline data collected from a randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of IPT with SP and SP-PQ on anemia and malaria morbidity in Congolese schoolchildren (Trial registration: NCT01722539; PACTR201211000449323). S. mansoni and STH infections were assessed using kato-katz technique. Malaria infection and hemoglobin concentration were assessed using Blood smear and Hemocontrol device, respectively. Results: A total of 616 primary schoolchildren from 4 to 13 years old were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of Plasmodium spp. infection was 18.5% (95%CI:15.6-21.9). Amongst those infected, 24 (21%), 40 (35.1%), 40 (35.1%), 10 (8.8%), had light, moderate, heavy, very high malaria parasite density, respectively. Above 9 years of age (p = 0.02),male and history of fever (p = 0.04) were both associated with malaria infection. The overall prevalence of S. mansoni infection was 6.4% (95%CI:4.4-9.1). Girls were associated with S. mansoni infection (p = 0.04). T. trichiura was the most prevalent STH infection (26.3%), followed by A. lumbricoides (20.1%). Co-infection with malaria-S. mansoni and malaria-STH was, respectively, 1.5% (CI95%:0.7-3.3) and 6.4% (CI95% 4.4-9.1). The prevalence of anemia was found to be 41.6% (95%CI:37.7-45.6) and anemia was strongly related with Plasmodium ssp infection (aOR:4.1; CI95%:2.6-6.5;p<0.001) and S. mansoni infection (aOR:3.3;CI95%:1.4-7.8;p<0.01). Conclusion: Malaria and S. mansoni infection were strongly associated with high prevalence of anemia in schoolchildren. Therefore, specific school-based interventions, such as intermittent preventive treatment or prophylaxis, LLITN distribution, anthelminthic mass treatment and micronutrient supplementation are needed to improve school children's health.