Advances in Diagnosis, Epidemiology and Control on Soil-Transmitted Helminth (STH) Infections

A special issue of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (ISSN 2414-6366). This special issue belongs to the section "Vector-Borne Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020) | Viewed by 41507

Special Issue Editors

Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
Interests: helminth; soil-transmitted nematode; vaccine; parasitology; immunology; molecular biology
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Guest Editor
Queensland Alliance for One Health Sciences, School of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Interests: infections disease epidemiology; spatial epidemiology; avian influenza; emerging infectious diseases; rabies; helminth infections; neglected tropical diseases; biosecurity; One Health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue focuses on recent advancements in the diagnosis, epidemiology and control on soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections.

Soil-transmitted helminth infections (STH) are the most common infections worldwide and affect more than a billion poor people around the world. The main STH species that infect people are the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale). STH infections cause significant disease burden primarily in school-aged children totalling 5.2 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs).

While in some countries, during recent years, the prevalence of STH is on the decline—assisted by economic development, improved sanitary conditions and the application of mass drug administration (MDA)—there are still more than 800 million people with Ascariasis, 450 million people with each of Trichuriasis or hookworm infections. This panorama is partly because many questions with respect to the diagnosis, epidemiology and control of these infections remain unresolved.

There is a need to enhance the evidence-base for novel strategies for the effective diagnosis and control of STH infections including intervention studies into the long-term sustainability of MDA and efficacy studies of MDA regimens and delivery platforms; epidemiological investigation into socioeconomic and environmental drivers of transmission; mathematical modelling of competing strategies; epidemiology of STH benzimidazole resistance; new drug discovery; vaccine development; development of effective and accurate diagnostic methods; and finally studies into the pathophysiological mechanisms of morbidity including immunomodulation of autoimmune diseases.

Assoc. Prof. Bin Zhan
Assoc. Prof. Ricardo J. Soares Magalhães
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • • Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections
  • • Diagnosis
  • • Intervention trial
  • • Water and Sanitation
  • • Mass drug administration
  • Treatment efficacy
  • MDA resistance
  • Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)
  • Epidemiology
  • Disease transmission modelling
  • Ascariasis
  • Trichuriasis
  • Hookworm infection

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 1641 KiB  
Article
Impact of the “BALatrine” Intervention on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in Central Java, Indonesia: A Pilot Study
by Darren J Gray, Johanna M Kurscheid, MJ Park, Budi Laksono, Dongxu Wang, Archie CA Clements, Suharyo Hadisaputro, Ross Sadler and Donald E Stewart
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4040141 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3150
Abstract
Many latrine campaigns in developing countries fail to be sustained because the introduced latrine is not appropriate to local socio-economic, cultural and environmental conditions, and there is an inadequate community health education component. We tested a low-cost, locally designed and constructed all-weather latrine [...] Read more.
Many latrine campaigns in developing countries fail to be sustained because the introduced latrine is not appropriate to local socio-economic, cultural and environmental conditions, and there is an inadequate community health education component. We tested a low-cost, locally designed and constructed all-weather latrine (the “BALatrine”), together with community education promoting appropriate hygiene-related behaviour, to determine whether this integrated intervention effectively controlled soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections. We undertook a pilot intervention study in two villages in Central Java, Indonesia. The villages were randomly allocated to either control or intervention with the intervention village receiving the BALatrine program and the control village receiving no program. STH-infection status was measured using the faecal flotation diagnostic method, before and eight months after the intervention. Over 8 months, the cumulative incidence of STH infection was significantly lower in the intervention village than in the control village: 13.4% vs. 27.5% (67/244 vs. 38/283, p < 0.001). The intervention was particularly effective among children: cumulative incidence 3.8% (2/53) for the intervention vs. 24.1% (13/54) for the control village (p < 0.001). The integrated BALatrine intervention was associated with a reduced incidence of STH infection. Following on from this pilot study, a large cluster-randomised controlled trial was commenced (ACTRN12613000523707). Full article
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12 pages, 815 KiB  
Article
Helminthiasis among School-Age Children and Hygiene Conditions of Selected Schools in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria
by Eniola M. Abe, Onyinye C. Echeta, Akwashiki Ombugadu, Linus Ajah, Peter O. Aimankhu and Akinola S. Oluwole
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4030112 - 29 Jul 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4981
Abstract
The burden of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) infections in Nigeria is enormous with serious public health significance. This study, therefore, assessed helminthiasis among school-age children and the hygiene conditions of schools in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria between December 2015 and April 2016 from four [...] Read more.
The burden of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) infections in Nigeria is enormous with serious public health significance. This study, therefore, assessed helminthiasis among school-age children and the hygiene conditions of schools in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria between December 2015 and April 2016 from four randomly selected primary schools. Stool samples were collected from 200 primary school pupils including 80 males (40%) and 120 females (60%) between five and 16 years, using clean sample bottles and a standard parasitology examination technique at the central laboratory at the Federal University, Lafia. An overall prevalence of 33.5% (67/200) helminths infections was recorded. A checklist of Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, Trichuris trichiura, and Strongyloides stercoralis was generated from the pooled data of the four studied schools in which A. lumbricoides occurred highest with 13% (26/200) while S. stercoralis was the least prevalent at 2.50% (5/200). Among the schools sampled, St. James Pilot Science Primary School’s children were the most infected at 44% (22/50). Multiple infections were observed in three of the four schools sampled. There was no significant difference (p > 0.05) in prevalence rates of different STHs infections in relation to age group and gender across schools. Our findings showed that the hygiene conditions in the studied schools were poor without water, hand washing materials, refuse bins, as well as poor sanitary conditions. This study also identified ova and larvae of STHs parasites in the analyzed soil samples from the studied schools. Most school-age children had knowledge about contamination but few among them washed their hands with water and soap. The obtained result indicated a negative association between the prevalence of STHs and the proportion of pupils that cleaned up with water after defection. We, therefore, advise that hygiene conditions in schools be improved and that the government should prioritize enrolling all primary schools in Nasarawa state for the school health program so as to reduce the burden of STHs among school-age children in the state. Full article
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8 pages, 611 KiB  
Article
High Endemicity of Soil-Transmitted Helminths in a Population Frequently Exposed to Albendazole but No Evidence of Antiparasitic Resistance
by Gabriela Matamoros, María Mercedes Rueda, Carol Rodríguez, Jose A. Gabrie, Maritza Canales, Gustavo Fontecha and Ana Sanchez
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020073 - 27 Apr 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5207
Abstract
Introduction: Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are gastrointestinal parasites widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Mass drug administration (MDA) of benzimidazoles (BZ) is the most recommended for STH control. These drugs have demonstrated limited efficacy against Trichuris trichiura and the long-term use of single-dose [...] Read more.
Introduction: Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are gastrointestinal parasites widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Mass drug administration (MDA) of benzimidazoles (BZ) is the most recommended for STH control. These drugs have demonstrated limited efficacy against Trichuris trichiura and the long-term use of single-dose BZ has raised concerns of the possible emergence of genetic resistance. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether genetic mutations associated with BZ resistance were present in STH species circulating in an endemic region of Honduras. Methods: A parasitological survey was performed as part of this study, the Kato–Katz technique was used to determine STH prevalence in children of La Hicaca, Honduras. A subgroup of children received anthelminthic treatment in order to recover adult parasite specimens that were analyzed through molecular biology techniques. Genetic regions containing codons 200, 198, and 167 of the β-tubulin gene of Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were amplified and sequenced. Results: Stool samples were collected from 106 children. The overall STH prevalence was 75.47%, whereby T. trichiura was the most prevalent helminth (56.6%), followed by A. lumbricoides (17%), and hookworms (1.9%). Eighty-five sequences were generated for adjacent regions to codons 167, 198, and 200 of the β-tubulin gene of T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides specimens. The three codons of interest were found to be monomorphic in all the specimens. Conclusion: Although the inability to find single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the small sample analyzed for the present report does not exclude the possibility of their occurrence, these results suggest that, at present, Honduras’s challenges in STH control may not be related to drug resistance but to environmental conditions and/or host factors permitting reinfections. Full article
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Review

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17 pages, 1661 KiB  
Review
Diagnostic Techniques of Soil-Transmitted Helminths: Impact on Control Measures
by Mirabeau Mbong Ngwese, Gédéon Prince Manouana, Paul Alvyn Nguema Moure, Michael Ramharter, Meral Esen and Ayola Akim Adégnika
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020093 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 27125
Abstract
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are common in the tropical and subtropical countries. The burden of disease is highest in endemic areas with limited access to good quality water supply and poor sanitary conditions. Major approaches to control and reduce morbidity caused by worm [...] Read more.
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are common in the tropical and subtropical countries. The burden of disease is highest in endemic areas with limited access to good quality water supply and poor sanitary conditions. Major approaches to control and reduce morbidity caused by worm infections include the periodic deworming of pre-school and school-aged children with anthelminthic drugs. Population-based studies and individual patient management including interventional studies can only be successful when accurate diagnostic techniques are used. The lack of appropriate diagnostic tools providing accurate results concerning both infectious status and intensity of infection—as these two factors vary in regions of low infection intensities—is a major challenge. Currently, available techniques show limited sensitivity and specificity and as such, a combination of several techniques is usually used to diagnose the large variety of parasite species. The objective of this review was to describe the advantages and disadvantages of the different available techniques for the diagnosis of STH infections and to highlight their use in control programs. Full article
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