oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Schistosomiasis: its effects on the physical performance of school children in Zimbabwe

Volume 32, Issue 12
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Physiological response to physical exercise was measured on 153 school children who were heavily infected (�500 eggs/10 ml of urine) with Schistosoma haematobium and 147 uninfected controls screened from a total of 700 children at Kakora School. Before the physiological performance tests were carried out, a detailed medical history was taken, including age, sex, height, weight, diet and nutritional status of each possible participant. Blood was obtained for a full blood analysis and examined for malarial parasites. Any subject found to be medically unfit or with Schistosoma mansoni was dropped from the study. The mean Schistosoma haematobium egg count among the male (723,51 ± 35,07) and the female (741,11 ± 24,66) participants was not significantly different (p > 0,1). The physical performance of each individual was assessed using Balke's method of Vo2 (max) estimation on four different days. The mean time for the infected males was 12,70 ± 0,33 and 13,82 ± 0,51 for the females (p < 0,05). The control subjects also showed the same trend, with the male subjects taking less time than the females. There was a significant difference in the time taken by the infected subjects as compared to the control subjects (p < 0,002). Treatment for Schistosoma haematobium resulted in a marked improvement in the physical performance of the subjects (p < 0,01 for the male and p < 0,002 for the female subjects).

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