Update on prevention and treatment of intestinal helminth infections.
Intestinal helminth infections are some of world's most common tropical diseases and cause significant impairments in pediatric growth and cognitive impairment as well as maternal health, particularly in areas lacking adequate access to safe water or sanitation. Routine mass drug administration (MDA) of anthelminthic medications to children living in endemic areas and interventions to improve water hygiene and sanitation form the basis of current control efforts. We review recent evidence on the effectiveness of these approaches and outline the limitations of MDA, including poor cure rates against hookworm and Trichuris trichiura, rapid post-MDA reinfection, and inadequate coverage of at-risk populations. Ultimately, alternative tools and strategies, including new drugs, drug combinations, and vaccines, will be needed to control or ultimately eliminate these infections.
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