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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905
EISSN: 1680-6905
Vol. 17, No. 1, 2017, pp. 24-31
Bioline Code: hs17005
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Health Sciences, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2017, pp. 24-31

 en Geophagy as risk behaviour for gastrointestinal nematode infections among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in a humid tropical zone of Nigeria.
Ivoke, Njoku; Ikpor, Nnenna; Ivoke, Obinna; Ekeh, Felicia; Ezenwaji, Ngozi; Odo, Gregory; Iyaji, Florence; Onoja, Uwakwe & Eyo, Joseph


Background: Geophagy is wide spread among pregnant women in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess intestinal nematode infections among geophagous pregnant women in Southern Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Methods: Pregnant women were aged 17-45 years at gestational ages of ≥ 14 to 24 weeks on hospital enrolment were sampled. Data on geophagy was collected using structured questionnaire. Gastrointestinal nematode status of the participants was determined by stool analyses. Soil types ingested were examined for intestinal nematode ova / larvae.
Results: The prevalence of geophagy (46.4%) was associated with socio-demographic characteristics. Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm were associated with geophagy while Trichuris trichiura and Strongyloides stercoralis check for this species in other resources had no association. Prevalence of A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and S. stercoralis differed significantly (p<0.05) between geophagous and non-geophagous women. The soil types consumed had eggs / larvae of A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura. Geophagy is a risk behaviour directly associated with A. lumbricoides, hookworm, T. trichiura, and to a lesser extent S. stercoralis infection among pregnant women.
Conclusion: Sensitization and mass education of pregnant women on the dangers of geophagy is needed. Furthermore, deworming of pregnant women should be integrated into the healthcare delivery system of the State.

Geophagy; gastrointestinal nematode; pregnant women; humid tropics

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