In this study, the overall prevalence of intestinal parasites was (24.7%) relatively low compared with previous studies which reported 39.9%, 63.8%, 69.1%, 84.3%, 71.8%, 35.44%, 68.4%, 65.5%, 77.9% and 72.9% in Gamo area, Chencha town, Zegie, Debre Elias primary schools, Addis Ababa city, Homesha elemenrary school, Motta primary school, Dona Berber primary school, Bahir Dar, Dagi primary school, ANRS and Azezo Atse Fasil primary school respectively (5, 17, 18, 20–26). The finding was comparable with that of a study conducted in Babile town 13.8% (27) but higher than of a study conducted in Ghana and noted 15% (28). The differences might be years of studies, cultural activities of people, geographical area and variations in sea level, health education given to the community about the prevention and control mechnisms of intestinal parasitic infections, availability of toilets and their proper use or might be due to dissimilarities in age and types of school.
The predominanat parasite in this study was A.lumbricoides with a prevalence of (11.4%), which was lower than reports in Addis Ababa, Chencha, Zegie and Azezowhich found magnitudes of 34.9%, 60.5%, 18.4%, 28.8% (20–22, 26), respectively. This might be due to differences in age. In this study participants were ≥ 10 years old children expected to keep their personal hygiene.
Moreover, S. mansoni and hookworm were next to A.lumbricoides in prevalence with (4.4%) and (3.6%), respectively. The prevalence of S. mansoni was lower than those studies conducted in Zegie and Azezo and reported 29.9% and 43.5% respectively (21, 26). The prevalence of hookworm in this work was greater than the result of a study conducted in Babile (0.3%) (27) and lower than that of Bahir dar (22.8%) (24) and Debre Elias (71.2%) (5). This could be related to shoe waring habits, distribution of the parasite in the community and differences in geographical area and population awareness about parasite transmision.
Others E. vermicularis, H.nana and cyst of E. histolytica/dispar were the least prevalent parasites in this study witth 2.2, 0.6 and 0.6%, respectively. The predominance of H.nana was comparable with the result reported in Pakistan (0.9%) (29), but lower than reports from Zegie (4.6%) (21) and Babile (13%) (27).
E. vermicularis was also the least prevalent parasite in other studies but slightly higher than the report in Babile (0.6%) (27). On the other hand, E. histolytica/ dispar was the least in our study.
Among significantly associated factors observed, participants with high swimming frequencies and swimming habits had 2.3 times more rate of infection than those who had no habits. This was similar to studies which reported significant associations between parasitic infections and swimming practices and frequencies (30–32).
The other predisposing factors such as gender, age, finger nail status, habits of eating uncooked vegetables/ fruits, source of drinking water and proper toilet utilization had no association like the two studies conducted on school-age children in Amhara region, Northwest Ethiopia and reported gender, finger nail status, the habits of eating uncooked vegetables, the presence or absence of latrines, latrine usage, hand washing before meals, hand washing after defecation and water source for drinking had no association with the problem (4, 33).
Limitations, the fact that a single stool sample was collected and analyzed may underestimate the prevalence of intestinal parasites as multiple sample examinations increase the chance of detecting parasites. Besides, parasite egg count intensity which is vital to know the load and the severity of infections was not determined in the study.