ABSTRACT: This research was carried out to investigate Impacts of Household Pest Infestation on Health in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The objectives were: to identify pest infesting households in Essien Udim; to examine their impacts on health; and to determine methods of controlling their infestation. To guide this study, three research questions and three hypotheses were formulated. Literatures were reviewed base on the objectives and were supported by the theoretical framework of Kurt Lewins behavioural theory. Out of the total population of 40,274, a sample size of 200 was chosen using the stratified random sampling technique. Data were collected using the researcher’s structured questionnaire called “Impact of Household Pest Infestation on Health Questionnaire” (IHPIHQ).
Simple percentage and chi-square statistical method were used for data analysis with reference to step by step testing of hypothesis. The findings of the study reveal that Household Pest Infestation has a significant effect on Health. It was therefore concluded among others that the pest infesting households including anotheles mosquitoes, cullecine mosquitoes and cholera vibro significantly affect the health of people. The methods of controlling them were identified and also recommendations made. It was recommended among others that the environmental sanitation to wash off pest in order to remain healthy.
Impacts of Household Pest Infestation on Health
1.1 Background of the Study
Pests are insects and small animals that are harmful to health or damaging to crops. As defined by Adesigbin (2007), pest is any living organism, vector or arthropod that constitutes nuisance to man or his environment and a destroyer of property. It could be seen as a plant or animal detrimental to humans especially humans engaged (in agriculture or livestock humanity). Pest is a generic word for other term for insect pest, vermin, weeds and plant pathogens.
An animal could be regarded as pest when it causes damage to the ecosystem or carries germs within the human habitats. Examples of these include those organisms which are vectors of human diseases such as rats and fleas, which transmit leptospirosis, Lassa fever, and other diseases. Mosquitoes which transmit malaria, yellow fever, filariasis and ticks which spread typhus fever or lyme disease (Adesigbin, 2007).
Household pests are those pests found on the human body or those found within human habitations that are capable of causing diseases and damage to property such as bed bugs, fleas, lice, houseflies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, rats as their classical examples (Abodunrin, 2005).
Pests are ubiquitous in our environment, i.e. they are found in the air, on land under the soil and in fresh or brackish water (salty water). Pests are adaptable to human environment. They live either in or on plants and animals and therefore compete favourably with other species of parasites. Pests make the general supplies of food difficult by destroying large quantities of farm produce and at the same time spread diseases to man and animals (Oreyomi, 2005).
Studies conducted in Essien Udim Local Government Area indicated that household pests aid the transmission of diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, Lassa fever and relapsing fever by coming into contact with disease causing organisms and carrying the organisms on their bodies or by depositing their faeces or urine on food.
Adesigbin (2007) classified household pest to include those ones that damages household property and equipments like clothes, books and furniture.
Household pest infestation is becoming increasingly noticed in Essien Udim due to the standard of personal and environment hygiene, poor housekeeping, low socio-economic standard of living among the hygiene especially in the remote parts of the Local Government Council hence the need for the study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been find out by authors that the increased incidence of infectious diseases such as cholera, dysentery, Lassa fever and rat-bite fever is due to increased household pests infestation. The attendant adverse environmental implication such as fire outbreaks due to gnawing of electrical wires by household rodents has been reported on the mass media.
Also available data gathered from health centres and other medical institutions in the study area shows about 27% increase in the number of patients admitted for cases of cholera, Lassa fever, relapsing fevers, dysentery, malaria, typhoid fever and other conditions such as rashes and skin eruptions. These diseases and conditions are attributed to household pest infestation.
The researcher was therefore prompted to carry out the study so as to identify the pests infesting households in Essien Udim L.G.A. together with their health and economic implications and the methods to be used in checking their proliferation.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of household pests on health in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
Impacts of Household Pest Infestation on Health
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study would be of immense benefit to a number of people, organizations, and government in the study area.
To the researcher, it will broaden her professional knowledge regarding household pests infestation, their impacts on health and the control measures. Organization which may also like to establish pest control outfits will also see the findings of the study useful. The residents of the study area will be able to identify through this study the household pests infesting their premises, the impact of their infestation and the measures to be adopted to check their proliferation.
To other students and professionals who might be interested in and decide to venture into the study will find a useful reference material. The local authority of the study area will be enticed by findings of this study and improve on her commitment in curbing the menace of household pests infestation.
1.5 Justification for the Study
The study is justified based on the increasing cases of ill-health which perhaps may be attributed to household pests infestation. The economic implication manifesting in the destruction of upholsteries and other household property and high cost of medical care occasioned by the treatment of those diseases which are pest related justify the study.
Moreover, the available research on the topic in the study areas is grossly inadequate and similar study conducted in the area was limited to only a single clan. The researcher intended to broaden the scope of this study to cover the entire Local Government Area, thus complementing the available literature on the research topic in the study area hence, the justification for the study.