Social Demographic Characteristics Associated with Visceral Leishmaniasis in West Pokot, Kenya

Bulle Abdullahi Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, School of Health Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya;

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Joshua Mutiso Department of Zoological Sciences, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

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Michael Gicheru Department of Zoological Sciences, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

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ABSTRACT.

Visceral leishmaniasis is a tropical disease with a significant global public health burden. This study aimed to determine the social demographic characteristics associated with visceral leishmaniasis in West Pokot of Kenya. A mixed-methods research design was adopted where household questionnaires and key informant interviews were administered. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version 22, and qualitative data were analyzed to establish patterns for interpretation. Male children aged 10 years or younger were the most infected by Leishmania donovani in the community. The hospital record indicated that 60% of previously treated visceral leishmaniasis patients were severely malnourished during admission. Risk factors associated with the disease included low formal education (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 4.39; 95% CI = 1.66–11.59; P <0.05), peasant farming (aOR = 8.49; 95% CI = 2.77–26.00; P <0.05), and dog ownership (aOR = 4.86; 95% CI = 1.87–12.60; P <0.05). Social demographic risk factors for visceral leishmaniasis remain a major public health concern in West Pokot.

Author Notes

Financial support: Kenya National Research Fund supported this study.

Authors’ addresses: Bulle Abdullahi, Department of Family Medicine Community Health and Epidemiology, School of Health Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: bulle07@hotmail.co.uk. Joshua Mutiso and Michael Gicheru, Department of Zoological Sciences, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mails: mutisovic@gmail.com and gicheru.michael@ku.ac.ke.

Address correspondence to Bulle Abdullahi, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, School of Health Sciences, Kenyatta University, Thika Rd., P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya. E-mail: bulle07@hotmail.co.uk
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