PREVALENCE OF ASTHMA SYMPTOMS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH INTESTINAL HELMINTHIASIS AMONG JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ABUJA MUNICIPAL AREA COUNCIL

  • CHIDI CHARLES ULONNAM National Postgrduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN)

Abstract

The global disease burden associated with asthma and its symptoms has been observed to have
increased, particularly in early adolescent children. This increase has also been reported in regions
endemic for helminthic infestation. Helminthic infestation has been associated with asthma
symptoms but the reports have been conflicting. The present study set out to determine the
prevalence of asthma symptoms in adolescent children aged 10-15 years attending junior secondary
schools in the Abuja Municipal Area Council and to determine its relationship with intestinal
helminthiasis.
A cross sectional study was conducted among 1081 children aged 10-15 years attending Junior
Secondary Schools in the Abuja Municipal Area Council. Asthma symptoms were determined using
the International Study on Asthma and Allergy of Childhood (ISAAC) video questionnaire (Version
3.0) and their stools were analysed for intestinal helminths according to the modified Kato-Katz
method.
The prevalence of the asthma symptoms were; wheezing (13.0%), night cough (8.8%) and wheeze
and breathlessness (4.1%). The proportion of the students with recent occurrence of asthma
symptoms (in the past 12 months) were 7.1% for wheezing, 4.6% for night cough and 2.5% for
wheeze and breathlessness. Wheezing and night cough were most prevalent in those aged 13 years
(32.1% and 32.6% respectively). The difference in the occurrence of wheezing and night cough
with the ages of the students was not significant (p > 0.05). Wheezing and breathlessness were most
prevalent in those aged 10 years (29.6%) and the occurrence significantly reduced with increasing
age (p<0.05). Females reported more asthma symptoms than males but the difference was not
significant (p>0.05). Asthma symptoms were reported significantly more in the children of middle
socio-economic status (p<0.05).
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The overall prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis was 46.6%. Four intestinal helminths were
identified and their frequency of occurrence were; Ascaris lumbricoides, 242 (22.4%); Hookworm,
219 (20.3%);Trichuris trichiura, 121 (11.2%) and Schistosoma mansoni, 38 (3.5%). The occurrence
of intestinal helminthiasis was higher in the female students (56.9%), those aged 13 years (31.3%)
and those of lower socioeconomic status (58.1%). The mean intensities of helminthic infestation
was for Ascaris lumbricoides; 645.42 eggs per gram -epg (95% CI: 838.39-1563.13), Trichuris
trichiura; 46.32 epg (95% CI: 36.33-92.15), Hookworm; 60.52 epg (95% CI: 48.93-72.10) and
Schistosoma mansoni; 3.46 epg (95% CI: 1.92 - 5.00).
The risk factors of asthma that showed significant association with occurrence of asthma symptoms
in the students included; socio-economic status, allergic rhinitis, parental history of asthma, use of
biomass fuel (kerosene stove and firewood), passive smoking and number of rooms in house.
(p<0.05).
Hookworm infestation was associated with reduced risk of asthma symptoms (OR, 0.518; 95% CI,
0.299-0.895; P=0.018), but the association of Ascaris lumbricoides, Schistosoma mansoni and
Trichuris trichiura with asthma symptoms were not statistically significant (p>0.05).
In conclusion, the present study highlights the prevalence of asthma symptoms of wheezing, night
cough and wheeze and breathlessness in Junior Secondary School students in Abuja Municipal Area
Council. Hookworm infestation demonstrated a significant association with reduced risk of asthma
symptoms which was not found with the other helminths. A multicentre descriptive study on the
relationship between Hookworm and asthma symptoms is recommended as this might promote in
the future experimental studies that could possibly provide therapeutic remedy for asthma
symptoms with microbial products of Hookworm

Published
2019-03-20
Issue
Section
Articles