Research Summary

Comparison of efficacy of single or multiple cycle(s) of preventive chemotherapy with albendazole in reducing the hookworm reinfection rate in an endemic tribal population

Hookworms are one of the most common intestinal worm infections worldwide, mostly affecting deprived communities. They cause chronic intestinal blood loss resulting in anaemia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has adapted periodic mass drug administration (MDA) of antihelminthic drugs targeting "at-risk" populations as a global strategy for the control of hookworms. However, reinfection rates following MDA tend to be high, suggestive of insufficient reduction of parasites in the environment.

We conducted an open-label, community-based, cluster randomised trial to compare the hookworm reinfection rates between the standard MDA of annual albendazole with two and four cycles of treatment respectively, for a period of 1 year. Forty-five tribal villages in Tamil Nadu were divided into 3 groups: one group received the annual MDA; the second received two rounds of MDA at one month intervals; and the third received four rounds of MDA – two rounds, one month apart, at the beginning followed by another two rounds after 6 months. The data from this study will be used to build hookworm transmission models to help identify the optimal MDA regime in this and other endemic Indian communities.

Figure Legend: Location and images of the study area
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