Objective: To determine the prevalence and intensity of intestinal helminth species among school children in southern Uganda.
Design: A cross-sectional survey using a randomly selected sample.
Setting: Eighteen districts of southern Uganda.
Subject: Two thousand and four school children aged two to twenty years (93.3%, aged 5-10 years) selected from classes 1 and 2 in 26 randomly selected primary schools.
Results: Overall, 55.9% of children were infected with either hookworm, Ascanis lumbricoides or Trichuris trichiura. The prevalence of A. lumbricoides was 17.5% ( range 0-66.7% by school), T. trichiura was 7.3% (0-45.0%) and hookworm 44.5% (15.6-86.0%). The prevalence of A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura was greatest in western districts while hookworm infection was more evenly distributed across the country.
Conclusion: Mass antihelminthic treatment of school children was warranted in 13 of the 18 districts as more than 50% of the children were infected with an intestinal nematode. It is likely that pre-school children are similarly infected.