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Preventive Chemotherapy in the Fight against Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis: Achievements and Limitations.

Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are endemic in more than half of the world's countries. The World Health Organization has advocated targeted preventive chemotherapy (PC) to control STH infections by distributing albendazole or mebendazole to at-risk populations. While the overall impact and sustainability of this strategy is disputed, a decrease in moderate and heavy STH infections can be largely attributed to a scale-up of drug distribution. Two factors might jeopardise the success of PC programs. First, the benzimidazoles possess unsatisfactory efficacy against Trichuris trichiura infections. Second, increased drug distributions might trigger anthelmintic resistance. This review presents an overview of the burden of STH infections, the evolution of PC along with its success and challenges, recent estimates of the efficacy of recommended drugs, and alternative treatment options.

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