Geohelminth Infection in Rural Cameroonian Villages

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Biological Sciences

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A survey of human geohelminth infections was conducted in Bawa and Nloh, two rural agrarian villages in the West Province of Cameroon. The purpose of the study was to provide baseline data to assess the efficacy of a universal geohelminth control program that the Bawa Health Initiative, a nongovernmental humanitarian organization, has implemented in the 2 villages. In Nloh, A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura, and hookworm exhibited prevalences of 33.0%, 54.3%, and 26.6%, respectively, and mean intensities given as eggs per gram of feces (epg) of 2,490, 246, and 293, respectively. In Bawa, A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura, and hookworm exhibited prevalences of 15.3%, 41.5%, and 18.7%, respectively, and mean intensities of 18,904, 346, and 57 epg, respectively. All geohelminths investigated exhibited extreme overdispersion. Although the 2 villages are demographically nearly identical, prevalences of A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura infection in Nloh were significantly higher than those in Bawa. The only differences between the villages that might account for the differences in prevalence of geohelminth infection is that clean drinking water and basic sanitation, and hygiene education programs, have been implemented in Bawa. High prevalences of infection in senior adults indicate that they may represent a neglected group in regard to geohelminth infection. In Bawa, a clustering of moderate- to high-intensity infections was noted among family compounds for A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura. Comparison of these data to those gathered in the West Province of Cameroon during a Cameroonian National Survey of helminth infections, conducted between 1985–1987, suggests that the prevalences of infection with A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura have decreased while the incidence of hookworm infection may have increased. However, such comparisons between surveys must be interpreted very conservatively, given the multitude of factors leading to dramatic differences in prevalence of geohelminth infections, even among demographically similar populations.


This article was originally published in Comparative Parasitology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Comparative Parasitology


Helminthological Society of Washington