Background: School age children are at particular risk of morbidity caused by schistosomiasis.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and intensity of infection; and identify associated risk factors for Schistosoma mansoni infection.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in Merebmieti elementary school around Hizaty Wedicheber Microdam in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. A total of 469 school children were selected at random. For each selected subject clinical and stool examination was done. Each subject was also interviewed. Stool samples were examined for Schistosoma eggs by Kato-Katz technique. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0 statistical packages software.
Results: The overall prevalence of S.mansoni was 42.4% and the mean (GM) intensity of infection was 86.7 eggs per gram (EPG). The prevalence and intensity of infection was higher in males. The highest prevalence was in the 10-14 year age group (49.2%) while intensity reached peak in the 15-19 years of age (107 eggs per gram). Of the 199 positive cases, about 34% harbored moderate (101-399 eggs per gram) and only 2% harbored heavy infection. The strongest predictors for S.mansoni infection using multiple regressions were proximity to microdam. Logistic regression analysis confirmed that children 5-9 years old and pipe water use for domestic purpose were protective factors.
Conclusion: On the basis of these results, it can be concluded that S. mansoni infection is an important health problem among school children of Merbmieti contributing to the transmission of the disease in the community. Hence, integrated control programme including periodic deworming, improving sanitation, provision of safe water supply are needed to have a lasting impact on transmission of S. mansoni.