keywords: Stellaria citrifolia, ringworm, Wukari, pupils, North-East, Nigeria
Ringworm is a global infection that is treated using various antifungal agent including plant extracts. A survey was carried out among one hundred and twenty (120) pupils (eighty (80) males and forty (40) females) in schools in Wukari to determine the traditional treatment of ringworm infection among children using chickweed (Stellaria citrifolia) leaves extracts of ethanol and distill water. A total of eighty (80) isolates (twenty (20) from females and sixty (60) from males) were isolated using standard Microbiological techniques. These isolates belong to three species namely: Trichophyton species (A dermatophyte), Microsporum species and Epidermophyton species. The species Trichophyton had the highest isolates with 25% and 10% for males and females respectively. This is closely followed by Epidermophyton species isolates 20% for males and 5% for females and Microsporum species had 15% and 5% isolates in males and females respectively. All the 120 (100%) of the pupils from the schools investigated had 80 pupils (66.7%) of both males and females harboured the pathogenic fungi while only 40 of the pupils representing 33.3% do not harboured the pathogenic organism. These pathogenic fungi when subjected to Stellaria citrifolia ethanol extract all the isolated were susceptible to the extract and when these same pathogenic fungi were tested on Stellaria citrifolia distill water extract the organisms were all susceptible the extract. This mean that the effectiveness of the Stellaria citrifolia is not affected by both the extract medium used and because all the pathogenic fungi were susceptible to the extract it means that Stellaria citrifolia is active against isolates Trichophyton species (A dermatophyte), Microsporum species and Epidermophyton species. In conclusion, Stellaria citrifolia can be used as an antifungal agent’s as these isolated pathogenic fungi has high degree of susceptibility to it. Also, pupils in primary schools in Wukari harboured a number of pathogenic fungi which have effect on their skin (especially head skin) making it public health concern in term of spreading to other uninfected children. Pupils, parents and other individuals should always be advised to dry and clean their clothing after each use, and to maintain good proper hygiene to avoid dampness as this facilitate the growth of fungi. Those that are affected with the pathogenic fungi should try and seek for medical help immediately it is discovered. More studies should be conducted to determine components of Stellaria citrifolia which is active against the fungi and the genetic status of the pathogenic strains. Finally, further work should also be carried out to know the fungi that are susceptible to Stellaria citrifolia.
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