The impact of population level deworming on the haemoglobin levels of schoolchildren in Tanga, Tanzania

Authors


correspondence Professor Andrew Tomkins, Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, University College, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK. E-mail: a.tomkins@ich.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Summary The impact of albendazole (400 mg) and praziquantel (40 mg/kg body weight) treatment of schoolchildren was compared with placebo according to the presence of anaemia (haemoglobin concentration < 11.0 g/dl) and heavy (> 5000 epg) or light (< 5000 epg) hookworm egg load. The study was conducted in rural Tanga. Medication was administered in September 1994 and children were followed-up in January 1995. Overall, anthelminthic treatment reduced the fall in haemoglobin concentration compared with that observed in the placebo group (− 0.11 g/dl vs. − 0.35 g/dl; = 0.02). Anthelminthic treatment was of greatest benefit to the 9% of children with both anaemia and heavy hookworm egg load (+ 0.67 g/dl vs. − 0.67 g/dl) and was also of significant benefit to the 38% of children with anaemia and light hookworm egg load (+ 0.07 g/dl vs. − 0.21 g/dl). It was of no significant benefit to children who were not anaemic. This study suggests that single-dose anthelminthic treatment distributed in schools in this area achieves haematological benefits in nearly half of children infected with S. haematobium and geohelminths (37% of total population).

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