Author(s): Evans AC, Stephenson LS
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Abstract With particular reference to parts of eastern and southern Africa the authors outline the dire effects of parasitic worms on people in the tropics and subtropics. Helminth infections can be controlled with drugs but in the long term a more comprehensive approach is required, dealing with poverty, health care and education, living conditions, sanitation and water supplies. PIP: Millions of people in the world's tropical and subtropical regions are infected by parasitic worms such as Ascaris, Trichuris, Necator, Ancylostoma, and Schistosoma, with the largest proportion of infected individuals being in the age group 3-18 years. Children carry the heaviest worm and egg burdens, and, because of their defecation practices, they are the principal disseminators of infection. Special attention should therefore be given to treating children. Within weeks or months of treatment, significant increases can be realized in children's growth rates and in physical and mental energy levels, while morbidity and mortality decline. Treatment alone, however, is not enough in poor, undernourished, and often underserved communities, where reinfection can be expected to occur. In the long term, a more comprehensive approach is required which addresses the prevailing poverty and problems in health care, education, living conditions, sanitation, and water supplies. Infection with hookworms, schistosomes, and strongyloides is described, followed by a section on targets and recommendations.
This article was published in World Health Forum
and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy