Indexed on: 21 May '10Published on: 21 May '10Published in: Parasites & Vectors
Malaria, schistosomiasis and intestinal helminth infections are causes of high morbidity in most tropical parts of the world. Even though these infections often co-exist, most studies focus on individual diseases. In the present study, we investigated the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum-malaria, intestinal schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth infections, and the respective co-infections, among schoolchildren in northwest Tanzania.A cross sectional study was conducted among schoolchildren living in villages located close to the shores of Lake Victoria. The Kato Katz technique was employed to screen faecal samples for S. mansoni and soil-transmitted helminth eggs. Giemsa stained thick and thin blood smears were analysed for the presence of malaria parasites.Of the 400 children included in the study, 218 (54.5%) were infected with a single parasite species, 116 (29%) with two or more species, and 66 (16.5%) had no infection. The prevalences of P. falciparum and S. mansoni were 13.5% (95% CI, 10.2-16.8), and 64.3% (95% CI, 59.6-68.9) respectively. Prevalence of hookworm infection was 38% (95% CI, 33.2-42.8). A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura were not detected. Of the children 26.5% (95% CI, 21.9-30.6) that harbored two parasite species, combination of S. mansoni and hookworm co-infections was the most common (69%). Prevalence of S. mansoni - P. falciparum co-infections was 22.6% (95%CI, 15.3-31.3) and that of hookworm - P. falciparum co-infections 5.7% (95%CI, 2.6-12.8). Prevalence of co-infection of P. falciparum, S. mansoni and hookworm was 2.8% (95%CI, 1.15-4.4).Multiple parasitic infections are common among schoolchildren in rural northwest Tanzania. These findings can be used for the design and implementation of sound intervention strategies to mitigate morbidity and co-morbidity.