Lack of deworming in children can cause malnutrition, intestinal perforation & death – Paediatricians

NEWS DIGEST – Paediatricians have warned parents on the effects of not deworming children within the age of five years to avoid complications associated with worm infestation.

The paediatricians noted that not deworming children as specified by the World Health Organisation can lead to malnutrition, low blood count, intestinal perforation and death.

A Consultant Paediatrician, Nephrology Division, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina State, Dr. Abdurrazzaq Alege, explained that deworming is a way of removing intestinal worms from the body.

He said, some of these worms feed on blood in the body, especially the hookworms and these may lead to children passing out blood in urine and stool.

“Failure to deworm a child can lead to shortage of blood, loss of iron in the body and stunted growth.”

“There may also be chronic blood loss from the intestine and as a result of that the child can have anaemia.”

“Evidence of malnutrition can be seen in a child that has too many worms in the body. Once the child is malnourished, the child would not grow well and will appear stunted. So these are complications that can happen as a result of having too many worms in the body” Dr. Alege noted.

In addition, Dr. Abieyuwa Emokpae, who is also a consultant Paediatrician at the General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, stated that deworming is important to boost a child’s immune system, optimise nutrition, improve growth and development.

“Deworming also helps in absorption, because there are various worms such as Hookworms that cause malabsorption in the body of the host, which means it doesn’t allow one to absorb food and other nutrients.”

“There are those called pinworm that causes itch on the anus. Another causes the intestine to come out in the anus of children, which is generally and locally known as jedi jedi in Yoruba term,” Dr. Emokpae said.

The paediatrician added that a child can die from an extreme case of worm infestation based on the organ of the body affected, especially if it involves the vital ones.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), a single pharmaceutical tablet dosage has been designed for the treatment of deworming that drastically reduced the suffering of those infected with parasitic intestinal worms and protect up to 1.5 billion people currently estimated to be at risk.

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