Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in School Children in the Lake Mainit Area in Northeastern Mindanao: an Opportunity for Integrated Helminth Control in the School Setting

Cesar C. Cassion,1 Erwin T. Pingal,1 Richard B. Maniago,1 John Robert C. Medina2 and
Vicente Y. Belizario, Jr.2,3

1Department of Health - Center for Health Development, Caraga Region, Butuan City
2National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila
3College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Abstract

Objectives. This study aimed to determine the epidemiologic status of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in the Lake Mainit area in Northeastern Mindanao.

Methods. School children from the municipalities of Alegria and Mainit in Surigao del Norte, and Jabonga and Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte were targeted as participants. Stools were collected, processed through Kata Katz method, and examined. Data gathered were double-encoded and processed to derive parasitologic parameters that were used to categorize the municipalities based on the World Health Organization guidelines.

Results. The overall prevalence of schistosomiasis was 10.9%, while the prevalence of heavy intensity infections was 0.1%. Alegria and Mainit were classified as moderate-risk communities, while Jabonga and Kitcharao were classified as low-risk communities. The overall cumulative prevalence of STH infections was 43.9%, while prevalence of heavy intensity infection was 12.7% Jabonga and Kitcharao were classified as Category I communities, while the reset were classified as Category III.

Conclusion. There is a need to consider implementation of school-based Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for schistosomiasis control in the same manner as in the implementation of MDA for STH control. Multisectoral involvement is necessary for integration of efforts in addressing the parasitic diseases as public health concerns in the area.

Key Words: Schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth, infections, school-based helminth control, integrated helminth control