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Increased Prevalence of Cestode Infection Associated with History of Deworming among Primary School Children in Ethiopia

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  • 1 Department of Biology, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York;
  • | 2 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Mass deworming of school-aged children with anthelmintics has been recognized as an effective approach for reducing the burden of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections. However, the consequences of this intervention on nontargeted parasite populations sharing the same gastrointestinal niche are unclear. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among three primary schools in Sululta town, Ethiopia, to examine the association between students’ histories of deworming treatment in the past 6 months and the prevalence of cestode and protozoan infections. An interviewer-led questionnaire administered to parents provided information on sociodemographic factors, and deworming status was ascertained from school records. Stool samples were collected from 525 children for microscopic examination. The independent associations of “any cestode” (positive either for Hymenolepis nana or Taenia spp. eggs) and “any protozoan” (positive either for Giardia lamblia or Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar) with history of deworming were examined using logistic regression. Overall, 25.9% of children were infected with at least one intestinal parasite of which H. nana was the most common. In multivariate analyses, deworming in the past 6 months was positively associated with increased odds of both “any protozoan” and “any cestode” infections; the latter reached statistical significance (AOR = 1.83, 95% CI: 0.69–4.86, P = 0.220, AOR = 3.82, 95% CI: 1.17–12.73, P = 0.029, respectively). If this observed association is causal, a greater understanding of interspecies interactions within the gastrointestinal niche may elucidate possible consequences of mass deworming treatments against STHs on coexisting nontargeted parasites.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Bineyam Taye, Department of Biology, Colgate University, 214 Olin Hall, 13 Oak Dr., Hamilton, NY 13346. E-mail: btaye@colgate.edu

Ethics approval: Departmental Research and Ethics Review Committee (DRERC) of Addis Ababa University College of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, approved the study. We obtained written or fingerprint consent from children’s parents or their legal guardians after informing them of the study procedures. To ensure participant privacy, confidential numerical identifiers were assigned to each child and all participant information remains password-protected in electronic files. The children were also informed about their ability to withdraw from this study at any time without jeopardizing their right to receive any services at their school. Children who were found to have intestinal parasites were treated with antiparasitic drugs in local health centers.

Authors’ addresses: Nader Mohamed, Anna Muse, and Bineyam Taye, Department of Biology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, E-mails: nmohamed1@colgate.edu, amuse@colgate.edu, and btaye@colgate.edu. Moges Wordofa, Dessie Abera, Abiyot Mesfin, Mistire Wolde, Kassu Desta, and Aster Tsegaye, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, E-mails: heranmakmow@gmail.com, dessabera@gmail.com, abiyot2012@gmail.com, mistire08@gmail.com, kassudesta2020@gmail.com, and tsegayeaster@yahoo.com.

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