High Prevalence of Soil-transmitted Helminths in Western Kenya: Failure to Implement Deworming Guidelines in Rural Nyanza Province

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Abstract

Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections affect an estimated 2 billion people world wide. Children experience the greatest morbidity, limiting their potential in academic and physical endeavors. Our study assessed the prevalence of STH infections in primary school-aged children in a rural village in the Nyanza Province of Kenya. Over two-thirds (68%) of the sampled population tested positive using a direct smear microscopic analysis of single stool samples. Only heavy worm infections would be detected with this technique; thus 68% is a minimum estimate of prevalence. Prior to our study, there were no deworming programs in this village, despite WHO and Kenyan government guidelines supporting regular deworming programs. Our study demonstrates the significant burden of STH infections in a rural Kenyan village and highlights the need for deworming programs in similar venues. We also demonstrate that with basic infrastructure and community involvement, regular deworming can be implemented effectively in remote, rural communities.

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