Treatment of Schoolchildren for Intestinal Helminths and Schistosomiasis

Article excerpt

Globally, schoolchildren harbour some of the most intense helminth infections. The intestinal helminths Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura and the hookwonns Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale infect a quarter of the world's population, including about 400 million school-age children. Also, over 200 million people are infected with schistosomiasis, of whom approximately 88 million are under 15 years of age. As outlined below, however, efficacious drugs for the treatment of these conditions are available, and for schoolchildren health care can be effectively integrated into education programmes.

Drugs of choice

Intestinal helminths. Albendazole (400 mg single dose), levamisole (2.5 mg/kg single dose), mebendazole (500 mg single dose), and pyrantel (10 mg/kg single dose) all produce cures in almost 100% of cases of A. lumbricoides infections. Against N. americanus and A. duodenale, single doses of albendazole and mebendazole have a variable cure rate but normally significantly reduce the intensity of infections. Levimasole may have some effect on egg reduction. Single doses of albendazole and mebendazole are only partially effective against T. trichiura, although good egg reduction rates can generally be achieved. The side-effects of these drugs are generally mild; however, because albendazole and mebendazole are teratogenic and embryotoxic in some species of animal caution must be observed in administering them to pregnant women. …

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