1273. Stunting and Schistosoma haematobium infection among school-aged children in a rural Ghanaian community
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Travel/Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Room: Poster Hall B1
Background:  Stunting, as defined by the World Health Organization (< -2 SD), has significant, detrimental long-term and short-term effects on individuals and communities, especially with respect to education, cognition, and achievement. Stunting is highly correlated with poverty. We assessed school-aged children aged 8 to 21 years in a rural Ghanaian community with a high prevalence of stunting. The objective was to characterize potential risk factors with respect to stunting. We considered sex, schistosome infection, length of residence in community, previous stunting, and residence shared among other stunted children.

Methods:  Infection with Schistosoma haematobium was assessed via filtration of three or more urine samples; urine was filtered through a porous membrane and examined via microscopy. Nurses from Ghana Health Services offered praziquantel (40 mg/kg) to all children in 2008 and 2009 following screening. Households were visited and members were asked to provide the demographic information for each child resident.

Results:  Boys (n = 224) were significantly more likely to be stunted than girls (n = 182) (54.0% versus 33.0%, p < 0.001). Boys who resided in the community for more than one year were significantly more likely to be stunted than were boys who had arrived within one year (58.0% versus 40.0%, p = 0.024). As expected, children who were stunted in 2008 were significantly more likely than non-stunted peers to be stunted in 2009 (72.3% versus 9.2% for girls, p <0.001; and 79.8% versus 19.6% for boys, p <0.001). Current schistosome infection, previous schistosome infection, and residence in a household with other stunted children were not significantly associated with stunting; this could be due to our relatively small sample or because most schistosome infections in this community are light (WHO definition: < 50 eggs/10 mL urine).

Conclusion:   We conclude that concerted attention should be paid to the growth of children in rural Ghanaian communities, and particularly on ensuring adequate growth of boy children.

Subject Category: T. Travel/tropical medicine and parasitology

Karen Claire Kosinski, MSPH1, Jeffrey Griffiths, MD MPH & TM2 and David Gute1, (1)Tufts University, Medford, MA, (2)Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA


K. C. Kosinski, None

J. Griffiths, None

D. Gute, None

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