Comparative Prevalence of Enteric Parasitic Infections among Subclinical Breastfeeding/Non-Breastfeeding Mothers and their Infants in Calabar, Nigeria
Enteric parasitic infections (EPIs) affect breastfeeding mothers world-wide and the largely asymptomatic nature makes it under-recognized. This study compared the prevalence of EPIs amongst subclinical breastfeeding/non-breastfeeding mothers and their infants. A health center based cross-sectional study was conducted among 300 participants (75 breastfeeding mothers with 75 of their breastfeeding infants and 75 non-breastfeeding mothers with 75 of their non-breastfeeding infants) in Calabar. Fresh faecal samples were obtained from the subjects and observed under the microscope using direct wet mount and formal-ether faecal concentration technique. Data analysis was done using chi-square test at p<0.05 significant level. An aggregate of 12.3% of the participants were infected with at least one enteric pathogen. The most prevalent were Ascaris lumbricoides (12.0%), Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (7.0%), Hookworm (5.0%) and Trichuris trichiura (2.3%). The frequency of enteric parasite was 10.7% among breastfeeding mothers, 0.0% among their infants, 16.0% among non-breastfeeding mothers and 22.7% among their infants. Interestingly, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence amongst breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers (X2 = 0.9231, p = 0.3367). The incidence of EPIs was significant in both breastfeeding mothers and control non-breastfeeding mothers. The outcome from this study suggests that breastmilk provides immunity on infants being breastfed against EPIs and also reveal the need for further investigation on the quality of water sources available to these subjects’ trials.
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