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A Cross-Sectional Study of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene-Related Risk Factors for Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection in Urban School- and Preschool-Aged Children in Kibera, Nairobi
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  • Alternative Title:
    PLoS One
  • Description:
    Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections affect persons living in areas with poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Preschool-aged children (PSAC) and school-aged children (SAC) are disproportionately affected by STH infections. We aimed to identify WASH factors associated with STH infection among PSAC and SAC in Kibera, Kenya. In 2012, households containing a PSAC or SAC were randomly selected from those enrolled in the International Emerging Infections Program, a population-based surveillance system. We administered a household questionnaire, conducted environmental assessments for WASH, and tested three stools from each child for STH eggs using the Kato-Katz method. WASH factors were evaluated for associations with STH infection using univariable and multivariable Poisson regression. Any-STH prevalence was 40.8% among 201 PSAC and 40.0% among 475 SAC enrolled. Using the Joint Monitoring Programme water and sanitation classifications, 1.5% of households reported piped water on premises versus 98.5% another improved water source; 1.3% reported improved sanitation facilities, while 81.7% used shared sanitation facilities, 13.9% had unimproved facilities, and 3.1% reported no facilities (open defecation). On univariable analysis, STH infection was significantly associated with a household toilet located off-premises (prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.33; p = 0.047), while always treating water (PR = 0.81; p = 0.04), covering drinking water containers (PR = 0.75; p = 0.02), using clean towels during hand drying (PR = 0.58; p<0.01), having finished household floor material (PR = 0.76; p<0.01), having electricity (PR = 0.70; p<0.01), and increasing household elevation in 10-meter increments (PR = 0.89; p<0.01) were protective against STH infection. On multivariable analysis, usually versus always treating water was associated with increased STH prevalence (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 1.52; p<0.01), while having finished household floor material (aPR = 0.76; p = 0.03), reported child deworming in the last year (aPR = 0.76; p<0.01), and 10-meter household elevation increases (aPR = 0.89; p<0.01) were protective against infection. The intersection between WASH and STH infection is complex; site-specific WASH interventions should be considered to sustain the gains made by deworming activities.

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