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1.  Associations between mild-to-moderate anaemia in pregnancy and helminth, malaria and HIV infection in Entebbe, Uganda 
Summary
It is suggested that helminths, particularly hookworm and schistosomiasis, may be important causes of anaemia in pregnancy. We assessed the associations between mild-to-moderate anaemia (haemoglobin >8.0 g/dl and <11.2 g/dl) and helminths, malaria and HIV among 2507 otherwise healthy pregnant women at enrolment to a trial of deworming in pregnancy in Entebbe, Uganda. The prevalence of anaemia was 39.7%. The prevalence of hookworm was 44.5%, Mansonella perstans 21.3%, Schistosoma mansoni 18.3%, Strongyloides 12.3%, Trichuris 9.1%, Ascaris 2.3%, asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia 10.9% and HIV 11.9%. Anaemia showed little association with the presence of any helminth, but showed a strong association with malaria (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.22, 95% CI 2.43–4.26) and HIV (AOR 2.46, 95% CI 1.90–3.19). There was a weak association between anaemia and increasing hookworm infection intensity. Thus, although highly prevalent, helminths showed little association with mild-to-moderate anaemia in this population, but HIV and malaria both showed a strong association. This result may relate to relatively good nutrition and low helminth infection intensity. These findings are pertinent to estimating the disease burden of helminths and other infections in pregnancy. [Clinical Trial No. ISRCTN32849447]
doi:10.1016/j.trstmh.2007.03.017
PMCID: PMC1950430  PMID: 17555783
Anaemia; Helminth; Pregnancy; HIV; Malaria; Uganda
2.  Risk Factors for Helminth, Malaria, and HIV Infection in Pregnancy in Entebbe, Uganda 
Background
Infections during pregnancy may have serious consequences for both mother and baby. Assessment of risk factors for infections informs planning of interventions and analysis of the impact of infections on health outcomes.
Objectives
To describe risk factors for helminths, malaria and HIV in pregnant Ugandan women before intervention in a trial of de-worming in pregnancy.
Methods
The trial recruited 2,507 pregnant women between April 2003 and November 2005. Participants were interviewed and blood and stool samples obtained; location of residence at enrolment was mapped. Demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral and other risk factors were modelled using logistic regression.
Results
There was a high prevalence of helminth, malaria and HIV infection, as previously reported. All helminths and malaria parasitemia were more common in younger women, and education was protective against every infection. Place of birth and/or tribe affected all helminths in a pattern consistent with the geographical distribution of helminth infections in Uganda. Four different geohelminths (hookworm, Trichuris, Ascaris and Trichostrongylus) showed a downwards trend in prevalence during the enrolment period. There was a negative association between hookworm and HIV, and between hookworm and low CD4 count among HIV-positive women. Locally, high prevalence of schistosomiasis and HIV occurred in lakeshore communities.
Conclusions
Interventions for helminths, malaria and HIV need to target young women both in and out of school. Antenatal interventions for malaria and HIV infection must continue to be promoted. Women originating from a high risk area for a helminth infection remain at high risk after migration to a lower-risk area, and vice versa, but overall, geohelminths seem to be becoming less common in this population. High risk populations, such as fishing communities, require directed effort against schistosomiasis and HIV infection.
Author Summary
Infections in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, maternal mortality, and low birth weight and have other long-term complications for mother and baby, although the full impact of many infections, particularly worm infections, is not yet fully understood. There is a high burden of infectious disease in many developing countries. In this analysis, we identified which factors put pregnant women in Entebbe, Uganda, at particular risk for worm infections, malaria, HIV, and, where possible, rarer infections including syphilis. The women in this study, and their children, will be followed up to determine the long-term effects of exposure of the fetus to these maternal infections on health during childhood. The findings of this baseline analysis will help in the interpretation of the long-term outcomes. The findings also highlight which groups are most at risk of each infection, and this may help in targeting interventions to prevent, treat, or mitigate the impact of infections in pregnancy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000473
PMCID: PMC2696595  PMID: 19564904
3.  Associations Between Maternal Helminth and Malaria Infections in Pregnancy and Clinical Malaria in the Offspring: A Birth Cohort in Entebbe, Uganda 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(12):2007-2016.
Background. Helminth and malaria coinfections are common in the tropics. We investigated the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to these parasites might influence susceptibility to malaria in childhood.
Methods. In a birth cohort of 2345 mother–child pairs in Uganda, maternal helminth and malaria infection status was determined during pregnancy, and childhood malaria episodes were recorded from birth to age 5 years. We examined associations between maternal infections and malaria in the offspring.
Results. Common maternal infections were hookworm (45%), Mansonella perstans (21%), Schistosoma mansoni (18%), and Plasmodium falciparum (11%). At age 5 years, 69% of the children were still under follow-up. The incidence of malaria was 34 episodes per 100 child-years, and the mean prevalence of asymptomatic malaria at annual visits was 5.4%. Maternal hookworm and M. perstans infections were associated with an increased rate of childhood clinical malaria (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10–1.41; aHR, 1.20, 95% CI, 1.05–1.38, respectively). S. mansoni infection had no consistent association with childhood malaria.
Conclusions. This is the first report of an association between helminth infections in pregnancy and malaria in the offspring and indicates that helminth infections in pregnancy may increase the burden of childhood malaria morbidity.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit397
PMCID: PMC3836463  PMID: 23904293
malaria; helminths; coinfections; pregnancy; childhood
4.  Malaria and related outcomes in patients with intestinal helminths: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:291.
Background
The effects of helminth co-infection on malaria in humans remain uncertain. This study aimed to evaluate the nature of association of intestinal helminths with prevalence and clinical outcomes of Plasmodium infection.
Methods
A cross-sectional study involving 1,065 malaria suspected febrile patients was conducted at Dore Bafeno Health Center, Southern Ethiopia, from December 2010 to February 2011. Plasmodium and intestinal helminth infections were diagnosed using Giemsa-stained blood films and Kato-Katz technique, respectively. Haemoglobin level was determined using a haemocue machine.
Results
Among 1,065 malaria suspected febrile patients, 28.8% were positive for Plasmodium parasites (P. falciparum =13.0%, P. vivax =14.5%, P. falciparum and P. vivax =1.3%). Among 702 patients who provided stool samples, 53.8%, 31.6% and 19.4% were infected with intestinal helminths, Plasmodium alone and with both Plasmodium and intestinal helminths, respectively. The prevalence of infections with Ascaris lumbricoides (A. lumbricoides), Trichuris trichiura (T. trichiura), Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) and hookworm (9.8%) were 35.9%, 15.8%, 11.7% and 9.8%, respectively. Out of the 222 (31.6%) Plasmodium infected cases, 9 (4.1%) had severe malaria. P. falciparum infection was more common in febrile patients infected with A. lumbricoides alone (21.3%), T. trichiura alone (23.1%) and S. mansoni alone (23.1%) compared to those without intestinal helminth infections (9.3%) (p<0.001 for all). Prevalence of non-severe malaria was significantly higher in individuals infected with intestinal helminths than in those who were not infected with intestinal helminths (adjusted OR=1.58, 95% CI=1.13-2.22). The chance of developing non-severe P. falciparum malaria were 2.6, 2.8 and 3.3 times higher in individuals infected with A. lumbricoides alone, T. trichiura alone and S. mansoni alone, respectively, compared to intestinal helminth-free individuals (p<0.05 for all). The odds ratio for being infected with non-severe P. falciparum increased with the number of intestinal helminth species (p<0.001). Mean Plasmodium density among intestinal helminth infected individuals was significantly increased with the number of intestinal helminths species (p=0.027). Individuals who were co-infected with different species of intestinal helminths and Plasmodium showed lower mean haemoglobin concentration than individuals who were infected only with Plasmodium.
Conclusions
Infections with A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and S. mansoni were positively associated with P. falciparum infection. However, further studies are required to investigate how these helminths could contribute to increased prevalence of P. falciparum infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-291
PMCID: PMC3519704  PMID: 23136960
Non-severe malaria; Association; Intestinal helminths; Plasmodium; Co-infections; Ethiopia
5.  Effects of Deworming during Pregnancy on Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes in Entebbe, Uganda: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Background
Helminth infections during pregnancy may be associated with adverse outcomes, including maternal anemia, low birth weight, and perinatal mortality. Deworming during pregnancy has therefore been strongly advocated, but its benefits have not been rigorously evaluated.
Methods
In Entebbe, Uganda, 2507 pregnant women were recruited to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating albendazole and praziquantel in a 2 × 2 factorial design [ISRCTN32849447]. Hematinics and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for presumptive treatment of malaria were provided routinely. Maternal and perinatal outcomes were recorded. Analyses were by intention to treat.
Results
At enrollment, 68% of women had helminths, 45% had hookworm, 18% had Schistosoma mansoni infection; 40% were anemic (hemoglobin level, <11.2 g/dL). At delivery, 35% were anaemic; there was no overall effect of albendazole (odds ratio [OR], 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79–1.15) or praziquantel (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.83–1.21) on maternal anemia, but there was a suggestion of benefit of albendazole among women with moderate to heavy hookworm (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21–0.98; P = .15 for interaction). There was no effect of either anthelminthic treatment on mean birth weight (difference in mean associated with albendazole: −0.00 kg; 95% CI, −0.05 to 0.04 kg; difference in mean associated with praziquantel: −0.01 kg; 95% CI, −0.05 to 0.04 kg) or on proportion of low birth weight. Anthelminthic use during pregnancy showed no effect on perinatal mortality or congenital anomalies.
Conclusions
In our study area, where helminth prevalence was high but infection intensity was low, there was no overall effect of anthelminthic use during pregnancy on maternal anemia, birth weight, perinatal mortality, or congenital anomalies. The possible benefit of albendazole against anemia in pregnant women with heavy hookworm infection warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1086/649924
PMCID: PMC2857962  PMID: 20067426
6.  Impact of Anthelminthic Treatment in Pregnancy and Childhood on Immunisations, Infections and Eczema in Childhood: A Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50325.
Background
Helminth infections may modulate immune responses to unrelated pathogens and allergens; these effects may commence prenatally. We addressed the hypothesis that anthelminthic treatment in pregnancy and early childhood would improve responses to immunisation and modulate disease incidence in early childhood with both beneficial and detrimental effects.
Methods and Findings
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in Entebbe, Uganda [ISRCTN32849447]. In three independent randomisations, 2507 pregnant women were allocated to receive single-dose albendazole or placebo, and praziquantel or placebo; 2016 of their offspring were randomised to receive quarterly single-dose albendazole or placebo from age 15 months to 5 years. Primary outcomes were post-immunisation recall responses to BCG and tetanus antigens, and incidence of malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia; incidence of eczema was an important secondary outcome. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. Of 2345 live births, 1622 (69%) children remained in follow-up at age 5 years. 68% of mothers at enrolment, and 11% of five-year-olds, had helminth infections. Maternal hookworm and Schistosoma mansoni were effectively treated by albendazole and praziquantel, respectively; and childhood hookworm and Ascaris by quarterly albendazole. Incidence rates of malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and eczema were 34, 65, 10 and 5 per 100 py, respectively. Albendazole during pregnancy caused an increased rate of eczema in the children (HR 1.58 (95% CI 1.15–2.17), p = 0.005). Quarterly albendazole during childhood was associated with reduced incidence of clinical malaria (HR 0.85 (95% CI 0.73–0.98), p = 0.03). There were no consistent effects of the interventions on any other outcome.
Conclusions
Routine use of albendazole in pregnancy may not always be beneficial, even in tropical developing countries. By contrast, regular albendazole treatment in preschool children may have an additional benefit for malaria control where helminths and malaria are co-endemic. Given the low helminth prevalence in our children, the effect of albendazole on malaria is likely to be direct.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32849447
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050325
PMCID: PMC3517620  PMID: 23236367
7.  Mapping the Risk of Anaemia in Preschool-Age Children: The Contribution of Malnutrition, Malaria, and Helminth Infections in West Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(6):e1000438.
Ricardo Soares Magalhães and colleagues used national cross-sectional household-based demographic health surveys to map the distribution of anemia risk in preschool children in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali.
Background
Childhood anaemia is considered a severe public health problem in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa. We investigated the geographical distribution of prevalence of anaemia and mean haemoglobin concentration (Hb) in children aged 1–4 y (preschool children) in West Africa. The aim was to estimate the geographical risk profile of anaemia accounting for malnutrition, malaria, and helminth infections, the risk of anaemia attributable to these factors, and the number of anaemia cases in preschool children for 2011.
Methods and Findings
National cross-sectional household-based demographic health surveys were conducted in 7,147 children aged 1–4 y in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali in 2003–2006. Bayesian geostatistical models were developed to predict the geographical distribution of mean Hb and anaemia risk, adjusting for the nutritional status of preschool children, the location of their residence, predicted Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate in the 2- to 10-y age group (Pf PR2–10), and predicted prevalence of Schistosoma haematobium and hookworm infections. In the four countries, prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe anaemia was 21%, 66%, and 13% in Burkina Faso; 28%, 65%, and 7% in Ghana, and 26%, 62%, and 12% in Mali. The mean Hb was lowest in Burkina Faso (89 g/l), in males (93 g/l), and for children 1–2 y (88 g/l). In West Africa, severe malnutrition, Pf PR2–10, and biological synergisms between S. haematobium and hookworm infections were significantly associated with anaemia risk; an estimated 36.8%, 14.9%, 3.7%, 4.2%, and 0.9% of anaemia cases could be averted by treating malnutrition, malaria, S. haematobium infections, hookworm infections, and S. haematobium/hookworm coinfections, respectively. A large spatial cluster of low mean Hb (<80 g/l) and maximal risk of anaemia (>95%) was predicted for an area shared by Burkina Faso and Mali. We estimate that in 2011, approximately 6.7 million children aged 1–4 y are anaemic in the three study countries.
Conclusions
By mapping the distribution of anaemia risk in preschool children adjusted for malnutrition and parasitic infections, we provide a means to identify the geographical limits of anaemia burden and the contribution that malnutrition and parasites make to anaemia. Spatial targeting of ancillary micronutrient supplementation and control of other anaemia causes, such as malaria and helminth infection, can contribute to efficiently reducing the burden of anaemia in preschool children in Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Global estimates for the time period 1993–2005 suggest that that worldwide, nearly 300 million children had anemia, that is, hemoglobin levels less than 110 g/l. In sub-Saharan Africa, two-thirds of all children were anemic, representing 83.5 million children. These statistics are important because anemia in infancy and childhood is associated with poor cognitive development, reduced growth, problems with immune function—and ultimately, decreased survival. Malnutrition (including micronutrient deficiency, especially of iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate), undernutrition, and infectious diseases, particularly HIV, malaria, and helminth infections (caused by hookworm and Schistosoma haematobium—which causes urinary schistosomiasis), are major causes of anemia in children. Although iron supplementation can often correct anemia, in some circumstances, iron deficiency can protect against common infectious agents, and giving iron can, on occasion, increase the severity of infectious disease in some children. Focusing on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases that cause anemia is therefore an important alternative strategy in the treatment of anemia.
Why Was This Study Done?
Control tools for targeting interventions for malaria and helminth infection in sub-Saharan Africa include modern spatial risk prediction methods that combine statistical models with geographical information systems (similar to those used in car navigation systems). However, to date no studies have used these tools to spatially predict the risk of anemia. Furthermore, the contribution that malnutrition and infections make to the overall anemia burden in Africa is largely unknown. In this study the researchers used these tools to predict the prevalence of anemia in three West African countries and to estimate the attributable risk of anemia due to malnutrition, malaria, and helminth infections.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used geographically linked data from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Burkina Faso (2003), Ghana (2003), and Mali (2006), which included capillary blood sampling and testing and detailed anthropometric (height and weight) measurements. A total of 7,147 children aged 1–4 years (3,477 girls and 3,670 boys) in the three countries were included in the analysis. The researchers mapped DHS survey locations in the three study countries using DHS cluster coordinates in a geographic information system. Using data from the Malaria Atlas Project, the researchers extracted spatially predicted values of Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate for each DHS cluster using a geographical information system and used previously reported parasitological survey data of hookworm and S. haematobium infections to predict helminth infection risk across the region. Then the researchers developed spatial prediction models using Bayesian statistics to estimate of the population attributable fraction for specific predictors for anemia. Data from the DHS showed that the prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe anemia was 21%, 66%, and 13% in Burkina Faso; 28%, 65%, and 7% in Ghana, and 26%, 62%, and 12% in Mali. The prevalence of stunting, wasting, and being underweight in the study area was 87.8%, 89.7%, and 71.2%, respectively, and the mean P. falciparum parasite rate, and rates of S. haematobium infection, hookworm infection, and S. haematobium/hookworm coinfection for the study area were 52.0%, 26.8%, 8.2%, and 3.6%, respectively. The overall results indicate that in the three countries, approximately 6.7 million children aged 1–4 years have anemia. Severe malnutrition, P. falciparum infection, hookworm infection, S. haematobium infection, and hookworm/S. haematobium coinfection were responsible for an estimated 2.5 million, 1.0 million, 250,000, 285,000, and 61,000 anemia cases, respectively. Central Burkina Faso and southern Ghana had the highest number of anemic children.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results add insight and detail to anemia prevalence and anemia severity within different geographical areas in three West African countries. The combination of anemia and mean hemoglobin predictive maps identifies communities in West Africa where preschool-age children are at increased risk of morbidity. The use of anemia maps has important practical implications for targeted control in these countries, such as guiding the efficient allocation of nutrient supplements and fortified foods, and enabling risk assessment of anemia due to different causes, which would in turn constitute an evidence base to calculate the best balance between interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000438.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Abdisalan Noor
The WHO Web site has comprehensive information on the worldwide prevalence of anemia
More information on Demographic Health Surveys is available
More information on global predictions of malaria is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000438
PMCID: PMC3110251  PMID: 21687688
8.  The Association of Parasitic Infections in Pregnancy and Maternal and Fetal Anemia: A Cohort Study in Coastal Kenya 
Background
Relative contribution of these infections on anemia in pregnancy is not certain. While measures to protect pregnant women against malaria have been scaling up, interventions against helminthes have received much less attention. In this study, we determine the relative impact of helminthes and malaria on maternal anemia.
Methods
A prospective observational study was conducted in coastal Kenya among a cohort of pregnant women who were recruited at their first antenatal care (ANC) visit and tested for malaria, hookworm, and other parasitic infections and anemia at enrollment. All women enrolled in the study received presumptive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, iron and multi-vitamins and women diagnosed with helminthic infections were treated with albendazole. Women delivering a live, term birth, were also tested for maternal anemia, fetal anemia and presence of infection at delivery.
Principal Findings
Of the 706 women studied, at the first ANC visit, 27% had moderate/severe anemia and 71% of women were anemic overall. The infections with highest prevalence were hookworm (24%), urogenital schistosomiasis (17%), trichuria (10%), and malaria (9%). In adjusted and unadjusted analyses, moderate/severe anemia at first ANC visit was associated with the higher intensities of hookworm and P. falciparum microscopy-malaria infections. At delivery, 34% of women had moderate/severe anemia and 18% of infants' cord hemoglobin was consistent with fetal anemia. While none of the maternal infections were significantly associated with fetal anemia, moderate/severe maternal anemia was associated with fetal anemia.
Conclusions
More than one quarter of women receiving standard ANC with IPTp for malaria had moderate/severe anemia in pregnancy and high rates of parasitic infection. Thus, addressing the role of co-infections, such as hookworm, as well as under-nutrition, and their contribution to anemia is needed.
Author Summary
International guidelines recommend routine prevention and treatments which are safe and effective during pregnancy to reduce hookworm, malaria and other infections among pregnant women living in geographic areas where these infections are prevalent. Despite their effectiveness, programs to address common infections such as hookworm, schistosomiasis and malaria during pregnancy have not been widely adopted. Hookworm, malaria and other infections have been associated with anemia in children, but the studies on the impact of these infections on anemia in pregnancy have not been as clear. This study was undertaken to evaluate the prevalence of parasitic infections among women attending antenatal care which provided the nationally recommended malaria preventive treatment program in coastal Kenya. At the first ANC visit, more than 70% of women were anemic, nearly one-fourth had hookworm and about 10% had malaria. Women with high levels of hookworm or malaria infections were at risk of anemia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002724
PMCID: PMC3937317  PMID: 24587473
9.  Factors affecting the infant antibody response to measles immunisation in Entebbe-Uganda 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:619.
Background
Vaccine failure is an important concern in the tropics with many contributing elements. Among them, it has been suggested that exposure to natural infections might contribute to vaccine failure and recurrent disease outbreaks. We tested this hypothesis by examining the influence of co-infections on maternal and infant measles-specific IgG levels.
Methods
We conducted an observational analysis using samples and data that had been collected during a larger randomised controlled trial, the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study (ISRCTN32849447). For the present study, 711 pregnant women and their offspring were considered. Helminth infections including hookworm, Schistosoma mansoni and Mansonella perstans, along with HIV, malaria, and other potential confounding factors were determined in mothers during pregnancy and in their infants at age one year. Infants received their measles immunisation at age nine months. Levels of total IgG against measles were measured in mothers during pregnancy and at delivery, as well as in cord blood and from infants at age one year.
Results
Among the 711 pregnant women studied, 66% had at least one helminth infection at enrolment, 41% had hookworm, 20% M. perstans and 19% S. mansoni. Asymptomatic malaria and HIV prevalence was 8% and 10% respectively. At enrolment, 96% of the women had measles-specific IgG levels considered protective (median 4274 mIU/ml (IQR 1784, 7767)). IgG levels in cord blood were positively correlated to maternal measles-specific IgG levels at delivery (r = 0.81, p < 0.0001). Among the infants at one year of age, median measles-specific IgG levels were markedly lower than in maternal and cord blood (median 370 mIU/ml (IQR 198, 656) p < 0.0001). In addition, only 75% of the infants had measles-specific IgG levels considered to be protective. In a multivariate regression analysis, factors associated with reduced measles-specific antibody levels in infancy were maternal malaria infection, infant malaria parasitaemia, infant HIV and infant wasting. There was no association with maternal helminth infection.
Conclusion
Malaria and HIV infection in mothers during pregnancy, and in their infants, along with infant malnutrition, may result in reduction of the antibody response to measles immunisation in infancy. This re-emphasises the importance of malaria and HIV control, and support for infant nutrition, as these interventions may have benefits for vaccine efficacy in tropical settings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-619
PMCID: PMC3733798  PMID: 23816281
Infections; Co-infections; Measles; Helminth; Malaria; HIV; Maternal; Infants; Pregnancy; Immunisation
10.  Interactions and Potential Implications of Plasmodium falciparum-Hookworm Coinfection in Different Age Groups in South-Central Côte d'Ivoire 
Background
Given the widespread distribution of Plasmodium and helminth infections, and similarities of ecological requirements for disease transmission, coinfection is a common phenomenon in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the tropics. Interactions of Plasmodium falciparum and soil-transmitted helminths, including immunological responses and clinical outcomes of the host, need further scientific inquiry. Understanding the complex interactions between these parasitic infections is of public health relevance considering that control measures targeting malaria and helminthiases are going to scale.
Methodology
A cross-sectional survey was carried out in April 2010 in infants, young school-aged children, and young non-pregnant women in south-central Côte d'Ivoire. Stool, urine, and blood samples were collected and subjected to standardized, quality-controlled methods. Soil-transmitted helminth infections were identified and quantified in stool. Finger-prick blood samples were used to determine Plasmodium spp. infection, parasitemia, and hemoglobin concentrations. Iron, vitamin A, riboflavin, and inflammation status were measured in venous blood samples.
Principal Findings
Multivariate regression analysis revealed specific association between infection and demographic, socioeconomic, host inflammatory and nutritional factors. Non-pregnant women infected with P. falciparum had significantly lower odds of hookworm infection, whilst a significant positive association was found between both parasitic infections in 6- to 8-year-old children. Coinfected children had lower odds of anemia and iron deficiency than their counterparts infected with P. falciparum alone.
Conclusions/Significance
Our findings suggest that interaction between P. falciparum and light-intensity hookworm infections vary with age and, in school-aged children, may benefit the host through preventing iron deficiency anemia. This observation warrants additional investigation to elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of coinfections, as this information could have important implications when implementing integrated control measures against malaria and helminthiases.
Author Summary
In sub-Saharan Africa, parasitic worms (helminths) are among the most common chronic infections, malaria among the most deadly, and coinfection is the norm rather than the exception. Infections with hookworm and Plasmodium can decrease the level of hemoglobin and are therefore associated with anemia. Previous studies have investigated the consequences of coinfection in different age groups and settings, but results are conflicting. Indeed, there is no consensus about detrimental or beneficial effects of a coinfection for the host. We designed a cross-sectional study to determine risk factors for anemia and investigated interactions and discuss potential implications of P. falciparum and hookworm coinfection in three groups of people. Overall, 324 individuals were diagnosed for helminths and Plasmodium infections, anemia, subclinical inflammation, and micronutrient deficiencies, and household’s socioeconomic status was determined based on an asset-index. We found significant associations between hookworm and P. falciparum infections, depending on the age group. Interestingly, 6- to 8-year-old children harboring a coinfection showed significantly lower odds of anemia and iron deficiency than children infected with P. falciparum alone. This observation warrants follow-up studies, as there are important implications when implementing integrated control measures against malaria and helminthiases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001889
PMCID: PMC3486899  PMID: 23133691
11.  Multiple var2csa-Type PfEMP1 Genes Located at Different Chromosomal Loci Occur in Many Plasmodium falciparum Isolates 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6667.
Background
The var2csa gene encodes a Plasmodium falciparum adhesion receptor which binds chondroitin sulfate A (CSA). This var gene is more conserved than other PfEMP1/var genes and is found in all P. falciparum isolates. In isolates 3D7, FCR3/It4 and HB3, var2csa is transcribed from a sub-telomeric position on the left arm of chromosome 12, but it is not known if this location is conserved in all parasites. Genome sequencing indicates that the var2csa gene is duplicated in HB3, but whether this is true in natural populations is uncertain.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To assess global variation in the VAR2CSA protein, sequence variation in the DBL2X region of var2csa genes in 54 P.falciparum samples was analyzed. Chromosome mapping of var2csa loci was carried out and a quantitative PCR assay was developed to estimate the number of var2csa genes in P.falciparum isolates from the placenta of pregnant women and from the peripheral circulation of other malaria patients. Sequence analysis, gene mapping and copy number quantitation in P.falciparum isolates indicate that there are at least two loci and that both var2csa-like genes can be transcribed. All VAR2CSA DBL2X domains fall into one of two distinct phylogenetic groups possessing one or the other variant of a large (∼26 amino acid) dimorphic motif, but whether either motif variant is linked to a specific locus is not known.
Conclusions/Significance
Two or more related but distinct var2csa-type PfEMP1/var genes exist in many P. falciparum isolates. One gene is on chromosome 12 but additional var2csa-type genes are on different chromosomes in different isolates. Multiplicity of var2csa genes appears more common in infected placentae than in samples from non-pregnant donors indicating a possible advantage of this genotype in pregnancy associated malaria.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006667
PMCID: PMC2723927  PMID: 19690615
12.  Necator americanus and Helminth Co-Infections: Further Down-Modulation of Hookworm-Specific Type 1 Immune Responses 
Background
Helminth co-infection in humans is common in tropical regions of the world where transmission of soil-transmitted helminths such as Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and the hookworms Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale as well as other helminths such as Schistosoma mansoni often occur simultaneously.
Methodology
We investigated whether co-infection with another helminth(s) altered the human immune response to crude antigen extracts from either different stages of N. americanus infection (infective third stage or adult) or different crude antigen extract preparations (adult somatic and adult excretory/secretory). Using these antigens, we compared the cellular and humoral immune responses of individuals mono-infected with hookworm (N. americanus) and individuals co-infected with hookworm and other helminth infections, namely co-infection with either A. lumbricoides, Schistosoma mansoni, or both. Immunological variables were compared between hookworm infection group (mono- versus co-infected) by bootstrap, and principal component analysis (PCA) was used as a data reduction method.
Conclusions
Contrary to several animal studies of helminth co-infection, we found that co-infected individuals had a further downmodulated Th1 cytokine response (e.g., reduced INF-γ), accompanied by a significant increase in the hookworm-specific humoral immune response (e.g. higher levels of IgE or IgG4 to crude antigen extracts) compared with mono- infected individuals. Neither of these changes was associated with a reduction of hookworm infection intensity in helminth co-infected individuals. From the standpoint of hookworm vaccine development, these results are relevant; i.e., the specific immune response to hookworm vaccine antigens might be altered by infection with another helminth.
Author Summary
Parasitic infections in humans are common in tropical regions and under bad housing and sanitation conditions multiple parasitic infections are the rule rather than the exception. For helminth infections, which are thought to affect almost a quarter of the world's population, most common combinations include soil-transmitted helminths, such as hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm, as well as extra-intestinal infections by schistosomes. In order to develop and test a hookworm vaccine in endemic areas, the understanding of the impact of multiple helminth infections (co-infection) on the immune response against hookworm in infected individuals is crucial. The authors report in their article, that several parameters of the cellular (T cell markers, cytokines, chemokines) and humoral immune response (e.g. IgG4 and IgE antibodies) against hookworm are significantly affected or modulated in individuals co-infected with hookworm, roundworm and/or schistosomes. These results imply that the immune response against components of a hookworm vaccine might be altered by previous contact with other helminth species in endemic areas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001280
PMCID: PMC3167770  PMID: 21909439
13.  The effect of anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy on HIV plasma viral load; results from a randomised, double blinded, placebo-controlled trial in Uganda 
Background
To investigate the effect of helminth infections and their treatment during pregnancy on HIV load, we conducted a 2×2 factorial randomised controlled trial of albendazole versus placebo and praziquantel versus placebo in pregnant women in Entebbe, Uganda
Methods
Two hundred and sixty-four HIV-infected women from the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study (ISRCTN32849447) were included in this analysis. Women were tested for helminth infections at enrolment and mean HIV load was compared between infected and uninfected groups. The effect of anthelminthic treatment on HIV load was evaluated at six weeks post-treatment and at delivery using linear regression and adjusting for enrolment viral load.
Results
Hookworm and Trichuris infections were associated with higher mean viral load at enrolment (adjusted mean difference 0.24log10 copies/ml, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01 to 0.47, p=0.03 and 0.37log10 copies/ml, 95%CI: 0.00 to 0.74, p=0.05, respectively). There were no associations between viral load and other helminth species. There was some evidence that albendazole reduced viral load at six weeks post-treatment (adjusted mean difference −0.17, 95% CI: −0.36 to 0.01, p=0.07), however this effect did not differ according to mother’s hookworm infection status and had diminished at delivery (adjusted mean difference −0.11, 95% CI: −0.28 to 0.07, p=0.23). There was no effect of praziquantel treatment on HIV load at any time point.
Conclusions
Infection with some soil-transmitted helminth species is associated with increased HIV load in pregnancy. Treatment with albendazole causes a small decrease in HIV load, however this may not represent a direct effect of worm removal.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182511e42
PMCID: PMC3383620  PMID: 22728750
HIV; viral load; helminths; anthelminthic treatment; clinical trial
14.  Malaria in the Post-Partum Period; a Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57890.
Background
Several studies have shown a prolonged or increased susceptibility to malaria in the post-partum period. A matched cohort study was conducted to evaluate prospectively the susceptibility to malaria of post-partum women in an area where P.falciparum and P.vivax are prevalent.
Methods
In an area of low seasonal malaria transmission on the Thai-Myanmar border pregnant women attending antenatal clinics were matched to a non-pregnant, non-post-partum control and followed up prospectively until 12 weeks after delivery.
Results
Post-partum women (n = 744) experienced significantly less P.falciparum episodes than controls (hazard ratio (HR) 0.39 (95%CI 0.21–0.72) p = 0.003) but significantly more P.vivax (HR 1.34 (1.05–1.72) p = 0.018). The reduced risk of falciparum malaria was accounted for by reduced exposure, whereas a history of P.vivax infection during pregnancy was a strong risk factor for P.vivax in post-partum women (HR 13.98 (9.13–21.41), p<0.001). After controlling for effect modification by history of P.vivax, post-partum women were not more susceptible to P.vivax than controls (HR: 0.33 (0.21–0.51), p<0.001). Genotyping of pre-and post-partum infections (n⊕ = ⊕10) showed that each post-partum P.falciparum was a newly acquired infection.
Conclusions
In this area of low seasonal malaria transmission post-partum women were less likely to develop falciparum malaria but more likely to develop vivax malaria than controls. This was explained by reduced risk of exposure and increased risk of relapse, respectively. There was no evidence for altered susceptibility to malaria in the post-partum period. The treatment of vivax malaria during and immediately after pregnancy needs to be improved.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057890
PMCID: PMC3596341  PMID: 23516418
15.  Helminth-Associated Systemic Immune Activation and HIV Co-receptor Expression: Response to Albendazole/Praziquantel Treatment 
Background
It has been hypothesized that helminth infections increase HIV susceptibility by enhancing systemic immune activation and hence contribute to elevated HIV-1 transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Objective
To study systemic immune activation and HIV-1 co-receptor expression in relation to different helminth infections and in response to helminth treatment.
Methods
HIV-negative adults with (n = 189) or without (n = 57) different helminth infections, as diagnosed by Kato-Katz, were enrolled in Mbeya, Tanzania. Blinded to helminth infection status, T cell differentiation (CD45RO, CD27), activation (HLA-DR, CD38) and CCR5 expression was determined at baseline and 3 months after Albendazole/Praziquantel treatment. Plasma cytokine levels were compared using a cytometric bead array.
Results
Trichuris and Ascaris infections were linked to increased frequencies of “activated” CD4 and/or CD8 T cells (p<0.05), whereas Hookworm infection was associated with a trend towards decreased HLA-DR+ CD8 T cell frequencies (p = 0.222). In Trichuris infected subjects, there was a linear correlation between HLA-DR+ CD4 T cell frequencies and the cytokines IL-1β and IL-10 (p<0.05). Helminth treatment with Albendazole and Praziquantel significantly decreased eosinophilia for S. mansoni and Hookworm infections (p<0.005) but not for Trichuris infection and only moderately modulated T cell activation. CCR5 surface density on memory CD4 T cells was increased by 1.2-fold during Trichuris infection (p-value: 0.053) and reduced after treatment (p = 0.003).
Conclusions
Increased expression of T cell activation markers was associated with Trichuris and Ascaris infections with relatively little effect of helminth treatment.
Author Summary
Helminth infections are common in sub-Saharan Africa where about half of the population may be infected with one or more helminth species. HIV infection is also highly prevalent in this region. Because of the geographic overlap of helminth and HIV infections, it has been hypothesized that helminth infections may increase susceptibility to HIV by increasing systemic immune activation, which has been linked to increased HIV susceptibility. We therefore investigated the profile of T cell activation in individuals infected with different helminth species before and after helminth treatment within the WHIS cohort in Mbeya, Tanzania. Our study shows that systemic T cell activation differs between infections with different helminths. Particularly Trichuris but also Ascaris and S. mansoni infections were linked to increased frequencies of activated, HLA-DR+ T cells with relatively little effect of helminth treatment. Hookworm infection was associated with a trend towards decreased frequencies of activated, HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cells. Our study supports the concept that helminth infections, which are linked to systemic immune activation, could potentially also contribute to increased HIV transmission.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002755
PMCID: PMC3967945  PMID: 24675895
16.  Efficacy of integrated school based de-worming and prompt malaria treatment on helminths -Plasmodium falciparum co-infections: A 33 months follow up study 
Background
The geographical congruency in distribution of helminths and Plasmodium falciparum makes polyparasitism a common phenomenon in Sub Saharan Africa. The devastating effects of helminths-Plasmodium co-infections on primary school health have raised global interest for integrated control. However little is known on the feasibility, timing and efficacy of integrated helminths-Plasmodium control strategies. A study was conducted in Zimbabwe to evaluate the efficacy of repeated combined school based antihelminthic and prompt malaria treatment.
Methods
A cohort of primary schoolchildren (5-17 years) received combined Praziquantel, albendazole treatment at baseline, and again during 6, 12 and 33 months follow up surveys and sustained prompt malaria treatment. Sustained prompt malaria treatment was carried out throughout the study period. Children's infection status with helminths, Plasmodium and helminths-Plasmodium co-infections was determined by parasitological examinations at baseline and at each treatment point. The prevalence of S. haematobium, S. mansoni, STH, malaria, helminths-Plasmodium co-infections and helminths infection intensities before and after treatment were analysed.
Results
Longitudinal data showed that two rounds of combined Praziquantel and albendazole treatment for schistosomiasis and STHs at 6 monthly intervals and sustained prompt malaria treatment significantly reduced the overall prevalence of S. haematobium, S. mansoni, hookworms and P. falciparum infection in primary schoolchildren by 73.5%, 70.8%, 67.3% and 58.8% respectively (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p < 0.001 respectively). More importantly, the prevalence of STH + schistosomes, P. f + schistosomes, and P. f + STHs + schistosomes co-infections were reduced by 68.0%, 84.2%, and 90.7%, respectively. The absence of anti-helminthic treatment between the 12 mth and 33 mth follow-up surveys resulted in the sharp increase in STHs + schistosomes co-infection from 3.3% at 12 months follow up survey to 10.7%, slightly more than the baseline level (10.3%) while other co-infection combinations remained significantly low. The overall prevalence of heavy S. haematobium, S. mansoni and hookworms infection intensities were significantly reduced from: 17.9-22.4% to 2.6-5.1%, 1.6-3.3% to 0.0% and 0.0-0.7% to 0.0% respectively.
Conclusion
Biannual Integrated school based antihelminthic and sustained prompt malaria treatment has a potential to reduce the burden of helminths-plasmodium co-infections in primary school children. In areas of stable malaria transmission, active case finding is recommended to track and treat asymptomatic malaria cases as these may sustain transmission in the community.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-9
PMCID: PMC3141662  PMID: 21696629
co-infection; malaria; schistosomiasis; STHs; deworming
17.  Complex Interactions between Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Malaria in Pregnant Women on the Thai-Burmese Border 
Background
Deworming is recommended by the WHO in girls and pregnant and lactating women to reduce anaemia in areas where hookworm and anaemia are common. There is conflicting evidence on the harm and the benefits of intestinal geohelminth infections on the incidence and severity of malaria, and consequently on the risks and benefits of deworming in malaria affected populations. We examined the association between geohelminths and malaria in pregnancy on the Thai-Burmese border.
Methodology
Routine antenatal care (ANC) included active detection of malaria (weekly blood smear) and anaemia (second weekly haematocrit) and systematic reporting of birth outcomes. In 1996 stool samples were collected in cross sectional surveys from women attending the ANCs. This was repeated in 2007 when malaria incidence had reduced considerably. The relationship between geohelminth infection and the progress and outcome of pregnancy was assessed.
Principal Findings
Stool sample examination (339 in 1996, 490 in 2007) detected a high prevalence of geohelminths 70% (578/829), including hookworm (42.8% (355)), A. lumbricoides (34.4% (285)) and T.trichuria (31.4% (250)) alone or in combination. A lower proportion of women (829) had mild (21.8% (181)) or severe (0.2% (2)) anaemia, or malaria 22.4% (186) (P.vivax monoinfection 53.3% (101/186)). A. lumbricoides infection was associated with a significantly decreased risk of malaria (any species) (AOR: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.23–0.84) and P.vivax malaria (AOR: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.11–0.79) whereas hookworm infection was associated with an increased risk of malaria (any species) (AOR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.06–2.60) and anaemia (AOR: 2.41, 95% CI: 1.18–4.93). Hookworm was also associated with low birth weight (AOR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.02–3.23).
Conclusion/Significance
A. lumbricoides and hookworm appear to have contrary associations with malaria in pregnancy.
Author Summary
Intestinal worms, particularly hookworm and whipworm, can cause anaemia, which is harmful for pregnant women. The WHO recommends deworming in pregnancy in areas where hookworm infections are frequent. Some studies indicate that coinfection with worms and malaria adversely affects pregnancy whereas other studies have shown that coinfection with worms might reduce the severity of malaria. On the Thai-Burmese border malaria in pregnancy has been an important cause of maternal death. We examined the relationship between intestinal helminth infections in pregnant women and their malaria risk in our antenatal care units. In total 70% of pregnant women had worm infections, mostly hookworm, but also roundworm and whipworm; hookworm was associated with mild anaemia although ova counts were not high. Women infected with hookworm had more malaria and their babies had a lower birth weight than women without hookworm. In contrast women with roundworm infections had the lowest rates of malaria in pregnancy. Deworming eliminates all worms. In this area it is unclear whether mass deworming would be beneficial.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000887
PMCID: PMC2982827  PMID: 21103367
18.  EPIDEMIOLOGY OF PLASMODIUM-HELMINTH CO-INFECTION IN AFRICA: POPULATIONS AT RISK, POTENTIAL IMPACT ON ANEMIA AND PROSPECTS FOR COMBINING CONTROL 
Human co-infection with Plasmodium falciparum and helminths is ubiquitous throughout Africa, although its public health significance remains a topic for which there are many unknowns. In this review we have adopted an empirical approach to investigating the geography and epidemiology of co-infection, and associations between patterns of co-infection and haemoglobin in different age groups. Analysis highlights the extensive geographic overlap between P. falciparum and the major human helminth infections in Africa, with the population at coincident risk of infection greatest for hookworm. Age infection profiles indicate that school-age children are at the highest risk of co-infection, and re-analysis of existing data suggests that co-infection with P. falciparum and hookworm has an additive impact on hemoglobin, exacerbating anemia-related malarial disease burden. We suggest that both school-age children and pregnant women – groups among the highest risk of anemia - would benefit from an integrated approach to malaria and helminth control.
PMCID: PMC2637949  PMID: 18165479
Malaria; helminths; hookworm; co-infection; anemia; epidemiology; disease burden; disease control; Africa
19.  Burden of Complicated Malaria in a Densely Forested Bastar Region of Chhattisgarh State (Central India) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115266.
Background
A prospective study on severe and complicated malaria was undertaken in the tribal dominated area of Bastar division, Chhattisgarh (CG), Central India, with an objective to understand the clinical epidemiology of complicated malaria in patients attending at a referral hospital.
Methods
Blood smears, collected from the general medicine and pediatric wards of a government tertiary health care facility located in Jagdalpur, CG, were microscopically examined for malaria parasite from July 2010 to December 2013. The Plasmodium falciparum positive malaria cases who met enrollment criteria and provided written informed consent were enrolled under different malaria categories following WHO guidelines. PCR was performed to reconfirm the presence of P.falciparum mono infection among enrolled cases. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was done to identify different risk factors using STATA 11.0.
Results
A total of 40,924 cases were screened for malaria. The prevalence of malaria and P.falciparum associated complicated malaria (severe and cerebral both) in the hospital was 6% and 0.81%, respectively. P.falciparum malaria prevalence, severity and associated mortality in this region peaked at the age of>4–5 years and declined with increasing age. P.falciparum malaria was significantly more prevalent in children than adults (P<0.00001). Among adults, males had significantly more P.falciparum malaria than females (P<0.00001). Case fatality rate due to cerebral malaria and severe malaria was, respectively, 32% and 9% among PCR confirmed mono P.falciparum cases. Coma was the only independent predictor of mortality in multivariate regression analysis. Mortality was significantly associated with multi-organ complication score (P = 0.0003).
Conclusion
This study has revealed that the pattern of morbidity and mortality in this part of India is very different from earlier reported studies from India. We find that the peak morbidity and mortality in younger children regardless of seasonality. This suggests that this age group needs special care for control and clinical management.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115266
PMCID: PMC4274025  PMID: 25531373
20.  Birthweight in Offspring of Mothers with High Prevalence of Helminth and Malaria Infection in Coastal Kenya 
Results of studies on the associations of maternal helminth infection and malaria-helminth co-infection on birth outcomes have been mixed. A group of 696 pregnant women from the Kwale district in Kenya were recruited and tested for malaria and helminth infection at delivery. Birthweight was documented for 664 infants. A total of 42.7% of the mothers were infected with Plasmodium falciparum, 30.6% with Schistosoma haematobium, 36.2% with filariasis, 31.5% with hookworm, and 5.9% with Trichuris trichiura; co-infection was present in 46.7%. Low birthweight (LBW) (weight < 2,500 grams) was present in 15.4% of the offspring, and 8.3% had a weight z-score ≤ 2 SD below the World Health Organization mean. Only gravida, age, and locale had a significant association with LBW. The high prevalence of maternal infection coupled with a higher than expected percentage of LBW highlight a need for further investigation of the association of maternal co-infection with LBW.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0371
PMCID: PMC3541745  PMID: 23166193
21.  Effect of Sanitation on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(1):e1001162.
A systematic review and meta-analysis by Kathrin Ziegelbauer and colleagues finds that sanitation is associated with a reduced risk of transmission of helminthiases to humans.
Background
In countries of high endemicity of the soil-transmitted helminth parasites Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworm, preventive chemotherapy (i.e., repeated administration of anthelmintic drugs to at-risk populations) is the main strategy to control morbidity. However, rapid reinfection of humans occurs after successful deworming, and therefore effective preventive measures are required to achieve public health goals with optimal efficiency and sustainability.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effect of sanitation (i.e., access and use of facilities for the safe disposal of human urine and feces) on infection with soil-transmitted helminths. PubMed, Embase, ISI Web of Science, and the World Health Organization Library Database were searched without language restrictions and year of publication (search performed until December 31, 2010). Bibliographies of identified articles were hand-searched. All types of studies reporting data on sanitation availability (i.e., having access at own household or living in close proximity to sanitation facility), or usage, and soil-transmitted helminth infections at the individual level were considered. Reported odds ratios (ORs) of the protective effect of sanitation on soil-transmitted helminth infections were extracted from the papers or calculated from reported numbers. The quality of published studies was assessed with a panel of criteria developed by the authors. Random effects meta-analyses were used to account for observed heterogeneity. Thirty-six publications, consisting of 39 datasets, met our inclusion criteria. Availability of sanitation facilities was associated with significant protection against infection with soil-transmitted helminths (OR  =  0.46 to 0.58). Regarding the use of sanitation, ORs of 0.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.28–1.02), 0.63 (95% CI 0.37–1.05), and 0.78 (95% CI 0.60–1.00) were determined for T. trichiura, hookworm, and A. lumbricoides, respectively. The overall ORs, combining sanitation availability and use, were 0.51 (95% CI 0.44–0.61) for the three soil-transmitted helminths combined, 0.54 (95% CI 0.43–0.69) for A. lumbricoides, 0.58 (95% CI 0.45–0.75) for T. trichiura, and 0.60 (95% CI 0.48–0.75) for hookworm.
Conclusions
Despite a number of limitations (e.g., most studies used a cross-sectional design and were of low quality, with potential biases and considerable heterogeneity), our results reveal that sanitation is associated with a reduced risk of transmission of helminthiases to humans. Access to improved sanitation should be prioritized alongside preventive chemotherapy and health education to achieve a durable reduction of the burden of helminthiases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, more than a billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths, parasitic worms that live in the human intestine (gut). Roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm infections mainly occur in tropical and subtropical regions and are most common in developing countries, where personal hygiene is poor, there is insufficient access to clean water, and sanitation (disposal of human feces and urine) is inadequate or absent. Because infected individuals excrete helminth eggs in their feces, in regions where people regularly defecate in the open, the soil becomes contaminated with eggs. People pick up roundworm or whipworm infections when they ingest these eggs after they have matured in the environment by eating raw, unwashed vegetables or by not washing their hands after handling contaminated soil (a common transmission route for children). In the case of hookworm, the immature, infective stages of the worms, which hatch in the soil, can penetrate human skin, and people usually become infected by walking barefoot on contaminated soil. Mild infections with soil-transmitted helminths rarely have symptoms, but severe infections can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, weakness, and malnutrition that can impair physical and mental development. Many soil-transmitted helminth infections can be safely and effectively treated with anthelmintic drugs, but there is rapid reinfection after successful treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2001, the World Health Organization endorsed preventative chemotherapy as the global strategy to control soil-transmitted helminthiasis. The key component of this strategy is regular administration of anthelmintic drugs to at-risk groups—children, women of childbearing age, and adults in high-risk occupations such as nightsoil reuse and farming. Although this strategy reduces illness caused by soil-transmitted helminths, it does not prevent rapid reinfection. To interrupt transmission and to achieve local elimination of helminthiasis, integrated control approaches that include access to sanitation and other complementary interventions of a primary prevention nature are needed. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers investigate whether the availability and/or use of sanitation facilities (latrines or toilets) lowers the risk of soil-transmitted helminth infections. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; a meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 36 publications that included data on sanitation availability and/or use and the number of people in the study population infected with one or more of three types of soil-transmitted helminths. Meta-analysis of the data from these publications indicates that, compared to people with no access to sanitation facilities, people with access to sanitation facilities were half as likely to be infected with soil-transmitted helminths. Specifically, the odds ratios (ORs; chances) of infection with soil-transmitted helminths among people with access to latrines compared to people without access to latrines were 0.46, 0.56, and 0.58 for roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm, respectively; for all three helminths combined, the OR was 0.49. Use of (as opposed to access to) sanitation facilities also protected against soil-transmitted helminth infection (ORs of 0.78, 0.54, and 0.63 for roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm infections, respectively). Finally, combining the data for both access and use, people who either had or used a latrine were half as likely to be infected with a soil-transmitted helminth as people who neither had or used a latrine (OR 0.51).
What Do These Findings Mean?
The studies included in this systematic review and meta-analysis have several shortcomings. For example, most were cross-sectional surveys—studies that examined the effect of the availability/use of sanitation on helminth infections in a population at a single time point. Given this study design, people who had latrines may have shared other characteristics that were actually responsible for the observed reductions in the risk of soil-transmitted helminth infections. Moreover, the data on latrine availability and use was derived from questionnaires and may, therefore, be inaccurate because people are often ashamed to admit that they defecate outside. Finally, the overall quality of the included studies was low. Nevertheless, these findings confirm that providing access to, and promoting use of, sanitation facilities is an effective control measure for soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Thus, there should be more emphasis on expanding access to adequate sanitation in control strategies for soil-transmitted helminths. This change in emphasis would reinforce the effects of preventative chemotherapy and ongoing health education on helminthiasis, in an economic, sustainability, and public health sense. Importantly, it would also improve the control of other neglected tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis and trachoma and would reduce the incidence of diarrhea, and thus child mortality, in developing countries.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001162.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease provides information on infections caused by soil-transmitted helminths
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides detailed information on roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm infections
The World Health Organization provides information on soil-transmitted helminths, including a description of the current control strategy; the Partners for Parasite Control newsletter Action Against Worms focuses on specific areas of worm control; a teacher's resource book entitled A Lively and Healthy Me that deals with educating children about worm infections is also available
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an advocacy initiative dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases, provides information on infections with roundworm (ascariasis), whipworm (trichuriasis), and hookworm
Two international programs promoting water sanitation are the World Health Organization Water Sanitation and Health program and the World Health Organization/United Nations Childrens Fund Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and Practical Action have information about approaches and technologies for sanitation
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001162
PMCID: PMC3265535  PMID: 22291577
22.  Impact of Plasmodium falciparum and hookworm infections on the frequency of anaemia in pregnant women of rural communities in Enugu, South East Nigeria 
Introduction
Malaria and hookworm infections are common in sub-Saharan Africa and they increase the prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy with resultant poor pregnancy outcomes. This study was carried out to assess the impact of Plasmodium falciparum and hookworm infections on the frequency of anaemia among pregnant women in two rural communities in Enugu, South East Nigeria.
Methods
A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out in a total of 226 women attending antenatal clinics at two rural Primary Health Centres (PHC) from April 2011 to July 2011(each PHC with 113 subjects). Socio-demographic data were collected through a structured questionnaire. Blood and stool samples were evaluated for haemoglobin estimation and malaria parasites, and stool samples examined for parasitic infection in all the women. Data was analyzed using STATA 10 software statistical analysis package. Student t-test was used for comparing mean values and chi square test for comparing categorical variables and level of significance set at p<0.05 and logistic regression was used to identify the risk factors associated with malaria in pregnancy.
Results
The mean age of the women was 27years with range 18 - 38years and SD of 5years. Most of the women were housewives and over 50% in their second trimester. 53% of them had malaria parasites while 27% had hookworm infection. About 40% of the women were anaemic (haemoglobin < 0.001). Similar association was found between hookworm infection and anaemia (p <0.001). Though both malaria and hookworm infections greatly increase the odds for anaemia (AOR 18.06, CI 18.15 -39.99, P<0.001) and (AOR 5.28, CI 2.26-12.38, P<0.001) respectively, the odds for having anaemia in pregnancy was higher for malaria than hookworm infections.
Conclusion
Plasmodium falciparum and hookworm infections have significant impact on the high frequency of anaemia in pregnancy in our rural communities. There is need to strengthen the control program that has been in place with an integrated intervention to combat these parasitic infections in our rural communities, with mass distribution of antihelminthics as one of the included relevant methods, among others.
doi:10.11604/pamj.2013.14.27.1925
PMCID: PMC3597852  PMID: 23503560
Malaria; hookworm; Enugu; parasites; Nigeria
23.  Malaria and Helminth Co-Infections in School and Preschool Children: A Cross-Sectional Study in Magu District, North-Western Tanzania 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86510.
Background
Malaria, schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminth infections (STH) are important parasitic infections in Sub-Saharan Africa where a significant proportion of people are exposed to co-infections of more than one parasite. In Tanzania, these infections are a major public health problem particularly in school and pre-school children. The current study investigated malaria and helminth co-infections and anaemia in school and pre-school children in Magu district, Tanzania.
Methodology
School and pre-school children were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Stool samples were examined for Schistosoma mansoni and STH infections using Kato Katz technique. Urine samples were examined for Schistosoma haematobium using the urine filtration method. Blood samples were examined for malaria parasites and haemoglobin concentrations using the Giemsa stain and Haemoque methods, respectively.
Principal Findings
Out of 1,546 children examined, 1,079 (69.8%) were infected with one or more parasites. Malaria-helminth co-infections were observed in 276 children (60% of all children with P. falciparum infection). Malaria parasites were significantly more prevalent in hookworm infected children than in hookworm free children (p = 0.046). However, this association was non-significant on multivariate logistic regression analysis (OR = 1.320, p = 0.064). Malaria parasite density decreased with increasing infection intensity of S. mansoni and with increasing number of co-infecting helminth species. Anaemia prevalence was 34.4% and was significantly associated with malaria infection, S. haematobium infection and with multiple parasite infections. Whereas S. mansoni infection was a significant predictor of malaria parasite density, P. falciparum and S. haematobium infections were significant predictors of anaemia.
Conclusions/Significance
These findings suggest that multiple parasite infections are common in school and pre-school children in Magu district. Concurrent P. falciparum, S. mansoni and S. haematobium infections increase the risk of lower Hb levels and anaemia, which in turn calls for integrated disease control interventions. The associations between malaria and helminth infections detected in this study need further investigation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086510
PMCID: PMC3906044  PMID: 24489732
24.  Effect of single-dose anthelmintic treatment during pregnancy on an infant's response to immunisation and on susceptibility to infectious diseases in infancy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 
Lancet  2011;377(9759):52-62.
Summary
Background
Helminth infections affect the human immune response. We investigated whether prenatal exposure to and treatment of maternal helminth infections affects development of an infant's immune response to immunisations and unrelated infections.
Methods
In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled 2507 women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy who were planning to deliver in Entebbe General Hospital, Entebbe, Uganda. With a computer-generated random number sequence in blocks of 100, we assigned patients to 440 mg albendazole and 40 mg/kg praziquantel (n=628), 440 mg albendazole and a praziquantel-matching placebo (n=625), 40 mg/kg praziquantel and an albendazole-matching placebo (n=626), or an albendazole-matching placebo and praziquantel-matching placebo (n=628). All participants and hospital staff were masked to allocation. Primary outcomes were immune response at age 1 year to BCG, tetanus, and measles immunisation; incidence of infectious diseases during infancy; and vertical HIV transmission. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN32849447.
Findings
Data were available at delivery for 2356 women, with 2345 livebirths; 2115 (90%) of liveborn infants remained in follow-up at 1 year of age. Neither albendazole nor praziquantel treatments affected infant response to BCG, tetanus, or measles immunisation. However, in infants of mothers with hookworm infection, albendazole treatment reduced interleukin-5 (geometric mean ratio 0·50, 95% CI 0·30–0·81, interaction p=0·02) and interleukin-13 (0·52, 0·34–0·82, 0·0005) response to tetanus toxoid. The rate per 100 person-years of malaria was 40·9 (95% CI 38·3–43·7), of diarrhoea was 134·1 (129·2–139·2), and of pneumonia was 22·3 (20·4–24·4). We noted no effect on infectious disease incidence for albendazole treatment (malaria [hazard ratio 0·95, 95% CI 0·79–1.14], diarrhoea [1·06, 0·96–1·16], pneumonia [1·11, 0·90–1·38]) or praziquantel treatment (malaria [1·00, 0·84–1·20], diarrhoea [1·07, 0·98–1·18], pneumonia [1·00, 0·80–1·24]). In HIV-exposed infants, 39 (18%) were infected at 6 weeks; vertical transmission was not associated with albendazole (odds ratio 0·70, 95% CI 0·35–1·42) or praziquantel (0·60, 0·29–1·23) treatment.
Interpretation
These results do not accord with the recently advocated policy of routine antenatal anthelmintic treatment, and the value of such a policy may need to be reviewed.
Funding
Wellcome Trust.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61457-2
PMCID: PMC3018567  PMID: 21176950
25.  Mechanistic and Single-Dose In Vivo Therapeutic Studies of Cry5B Anthelmintic Action against Hookworms 
Background
Hookworm infections are one of the most important parasitic infections of humans worldwide, considered by some second only to malaria in associated disease burden. Single-dose mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminths, including hookworms, relies primarily on albendazole, which has variable efficacy. New and better hookworm therapies are urgently needed. Bacillus thuringiensis crystal protein Cry5B has potential as a novel anthelmintic and has been extensively studied in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we ask whether single-dose Cry5B can provide therapy against a hookworm infection and whether C. elegans mechanism-of-action studies are relevant to hookworms.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To test whether the C. elegans invertebrate-specific glycolipid receptor for Cry5B is relevant in hookworms, we fed Ancylostoma ceylanicum hookworm adults Cry5B with and without galactose, an inhibitor of Cry5B-C. elegans glycolipid interactions. As with C. elegans, galactose inhibits Cry5B toxicity in A. ceylanicum. Furthermore, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which controls one of the most important Cry5B signal transduction responses in C. elegans, is functionally operational in hookworms. A. ceylanicum hookworms treated with Cry5B up-regulate p38 MAPK and knock down of p38 MAPK activity in hookworms results in hypersensitivity of A. ceylanicum adults to Cry5B attack. Single-dose Cry5B is able to reduce by >90% A. ceylanicum hookworm burdens from infected hamsters, in the process eliminating hookworm egg shedding in feces and protecting infected hamsters from blood loss. Anthelmintic activity is increased about 3-fold, eliminating >97% of the parasites with a single 3 mg dose (∼30 mg/kg), by incorporating a simple formulation to help prevent digestion in the acidic stomach of the host mammal.
Conclusions/Significance
These studies advance the development of Cry5B protein as a potent, safe single-dose anthelmintic for hookworm therapy and make available the information of how Cry5B functions in C. elegans in order to study and improve Cry5B function against hookworms.
Author Summary
Hookworm infections are one of the great parasitic diseases of our time, infecting more than half a billion people worldwide and are a significant source of iron-deficient anemia. Although mass drug administrations to eliminate hookworms from children and pregnant women are being deployed, all the drugs for treatment we have lack full potency against the parasites and are showing signs of reduced efficacy. Crystal proteins, like Cry5B, made by Bacillus thuringiensis are as a class considered safe to vertebrates and have been shown to have efficacy against intestinal roundworms like hookworms. Here we show that the key mechanistic details of how Cry5B functions in hookworms is conserved with that of the model free-living roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which has implications for confirming Cry5B safety in vertebrates and for enhancing Cry5B efficacy against roundworms. Furthermore, we show that Cry5B works effectively as a single-dose drug against hookworm infections in hamsters and can be formulated to increase its efficacy, eliminating 97% of the parasites in a single dose. These results advance the development of a novel, safe single-dose therapy for hookworm infections in humans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001900
PMCID: PMC3493396  PMID: 23145203

Results 1-25 (680054)