Geophagy is wide spread among pregnant women in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
The aim of this study was to assess intestinal nematode infections among geophagous pregnant women in Southern
Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
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.
The prevalence of geophagy (46.4%) was associated with socio-demographic characteristics. Ascaris lumbricoides
hookworm were associated with geophagy while Trichuris trichiura
and Strongyloides stercoralis
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.
, hookworm, T. trichiura
, and to a lesser extent S. stercoralis
infection among pregnant women.
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.