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Serological investigation of visceral Leishmania infection in human and its associated risk factors in Welkait District, Western Tigray, Ethiopia

Bsrat, Abrha, Berhe, Mebrahtu, Gadissa, Endalemaw, Taddele, Habtamu, Tekle, Yohannes, Hagos, Yohannes, Abera, Adugna, G/micael, Messele, Alemayhu, Tehetna, Gugsa, Getachew, Aseffa, Abraham
Parasite epidemiology and control 2018 v.3 no.1 pp. 13-20
Leishmania, cross-sectional studies, dogs, experimental design, health services, humans, ownership, parasites, public health, questionnaires, regression analysis, risk factors, sampling, serological surveys, seroprevalence, skin tests, sleep, visceral leishmaniasis, Ethiopia
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is major neglected public health problem in terms of geographical spread and incidence in Ethiopia. Magnitude, public health impact and dynamics of VL were not well studied in Welkait District, Western Tigray, though the area is known for VL. Hence, this study aimed to determine sero-prevalence of human VL and associated risk factors in Welkait as new foci. A cross sectional study design was employed in this study. Two stage stratified random sampling method was used to select study participants. Hence, a total of 329 human study participants were included for serological survey using ITleish and leishmanin skin tests. Semi structured questionnaire was also used to identify VL associated risk factors. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression statistical methods were used to determine the degree of association. The overall sero-prevalence of human VL in the study area was found to be 8.81%. Statistical significant difference in the prevalence of the disease was found among Sub-districts, sex, re-settlement, sleeping outdoor and dog ownership (P<0.05). Participants who resettled from their original place were found 2 times (AOR=2.143; 95% CI=1.02, 14.20) more vulnerable to VL infection. Those who had an experience of sleeping outdoor were found almost 4 times (AOR=4.29; 95% CI=1.58, 11.69) more likely to be at risk of acquiring VL infection than those sleep indoor. Furthermore, individuals who owned dogs were 3 times more prone to the VL infection than their counterparts (AOR=3.37; 95% CI=1.29, 8.76). Alarming sero-positivity of human VL was recorded from new foci. Hence, it is recommended to improve the VL health services in the study area. The investigation also invites further study on VL dynamics in the study area.