Effect of schistosoma haematobium infection on the cognitive functions of preschool age children and benefits of treatment from an endemic area in Zimbabwe

Maritha Kasambala, Takafira Mduluza, Arthur Vengesai, Tariro Mduluza-Jokonya, Luxwell Jokonya, Herald Midzi, Rutendo Birri Makota, Arnold Mutemeri, Emmanuel Maziti, Bazondlile Dube-Marimbe, Dixon Chibanda, Francisca Mutapi, Samson Mukaratirwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background
Schistosomiasis is known to affect the cognitive functions of children, however, but there is paucity of information on its impact on early childhood development in developing countries where the disease is endemic. This study aimed at determining the effects of schistosomiasis due to Schistosoma haematobium on early childhood development in children below 5 years old from Murewa District, Zimbabwe, including the benefits of treatment.

Methods
Preschool age children (PSAC) under the age of 5 years were screened at baseline and at 6 months post-treatment for S. haematobium infections diagnosed using the urine filtration method. Cognitive domains were assessed using the Griffith Mental Developmental Scales III on 136 PSAC. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the level of association between S. haematobium infection and performance in the cognitive domains adjusting for confounding factors (i.e. nutrition, hemoglobin levels, gender and age). Median Development Quotient scores of each cognitive domain at baseline and at 6 months post-treatment were compared and quantified.

Results
After adjusting for confounding factors, PSAC infected with S. haematobium had greater odds of having lower scores in the Foundation of Learning Domain (OR = 3.9, p = 0.008), Language and Communication Domain (OR = 3.2, p = 0.017), Eye-Hand Coordination Domains (OR = 10.7, p = 0.001), Personal-Social-Emotional Domain (19.3, p = 0.001) and in the Overall General Development Domain (7.2, p = 0.011). Improvement of cognitive performance was observed at 6 months post treatment in the following Domains; Language and Communication Domain (p = 0.003), Eye-Hand Coordination Domain (p = 0.02) and General Development Domain (p = 0.006).

Conclusion
The study showed that S. haematobium infection in PSAC is associated with lower cognitive scores in the Foundation of Learning, Language and Communication, Eye-Hand Coordination, Personal-Social-Emotional and in the Overall General Development domains. Our results strengthen the call for inclusion of PSAC in routine deworming programs for the control of urinary schistosomiasis and the need to develop locally validated tools to monitor early child development in endemic areas where resources are limited.
Original languageEnglish
Article number809
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cognitive functions
  • early child development
  • pre school aged children
  • schistosomiasis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of schistosoma haematobium infection on the cognitive functions of preschool age children and benefits of treatment from an endemic area in Zimbabwe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this