Epidemiological Studies on Some Microbial and Parasitic Infections of Nomadic Fulani Herdsmen in Ebonyi State, Nigeria
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Over the years, nomadic Fulani herdsmen have established different settlement camps outside the traditional villages of their indigenous host communities in Ebonyi State.
With increasing concerns about the health condition of the nomads, this study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence and distribution of some microbial and parasitic infections amongst the spatially distributed population of the nomadic Fulani herdsmen in Ebonyi State.
This investigation was carried out between June 2005 and June 2007 using standard bacteriological, mycological and parasitological techniques. In addition, the knowledge, attitudes and perception of Fulani herdsmen about microbial and parasitic infections was studied using questionnaires.
Out of 1218 samples taken from 7 bush encampments, 677 (55.6%) had various bacterial organisms with Enterococcus spp (21.3%) and Nesseria spp (19.5%) being predominant followed by Enterobacter sp (14.6%) Staphylococci (10.6%) while the least was Acinetobacter sp (0.14%).
Out of 280 persons examined for dermatophytes infections, 59(21.1%) were infected with ringworm of the scalp being most predominant. Although the prevalence varied amongst age and sex, both male and female within age bracket of 11- 15 years were significantly infected than other age categories (P<0.05).
The ethnological name Fulani represents the people based on a peculiar origin, whereas the name Fulakunda represents one of the many sub-groupings of the Fulani people. Each of the sub-groupings is based on dialect and geographic location (Gandiri et al., 2001)
The more popular anthropological studies, as well as the obscure oral traditions of the Fulani people, trace their origins to the Ethiopian Empire of Eastern Africa. The people were predominantly nomadic herdsmen of cattle, sheep, and goats.
Their movements were based upon the availability of food supplies for their herds. Whereas the cattles were rarely eaten and remained a symbol of wealth, the sheep and goats were used for trade in the villages to obtain rice, millet, corn, clothing, etc (Gandiri et al., 2001)
The Nomads are a race without fixed abode, moving from place to place according to the state of pasturage or food supply (Anosike et al., 2005). They consist of several groups made up of hunters, collectors, fishermen as well as pasturalists.
The last group which makes up the majority of the nomads today domesticates animals, usually cows, sheep, camels and goats.
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