Preventive chemotherapy (PC) is a WHO-recommended strategy to control and eliminate schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths (STHs). We assessed the prevalence, intensity, and correlates of schistosomiasis and STH infection after five rounds of PC in southern Ethiopia. A total of 3162 school children from four schools in Wondo Gennet and Hawella Tula districts were screened for Schistosoma mansoni and STHs infection. The overall prevalence of S. mansoni infection was 25.8% (range between schools 11.6% to 54.1%), with light (19.1%), moderate (5.3%), and heavy (1.4%) infection intensities. A total of 61.6% S. mansoni-infected children were STH co-infected. The overall prevalence of STHs infection was 54.7% (range between schools 30.6-71.0%), with moderate-to-heavy intensity infections being 16.3%. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent 45% (95% CI, 43.5-47) followed by Trichuris trichiura 25.3% (95% CI, 23.8-26.9) and hookworm 6.1% (95% CI, 5.3-7). A total of 33.7% of STHs-infected children had A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura co-infections. S. mansoni infection was significantly associated with school and STHs co-infection (p < 0.001). STH infection was correlated with school and younger age (p < 0.001). Despite repeated PC, S. mansoni and STH infection remain significant health problems, and the WHO target to control schistosomiasis and eliminate STH by 2020 may not be achieved. Intensified control and prevention measures, including drug efficacy surveillance, is recommended.
Keywords: STHs; prevalence; schistosomiasis; school children; southern Ethiopia.