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
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.
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.
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.
HIV; viral load; helminths; anthelminthic treatment; clinical trial
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.
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.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32849447
Allergy is commoner in developed than in developing countries. Chronic worm infections show inverse associations with allergy, and prenatal exposures may be critical to allergy risk.
To determine whether anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy increases the risk of allergy in infancy.
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on treatment in pregnancy with albendazole versus placebo and praziquantel versus placebo was conducted in Uganda, with a 2 × 2 factorial design; 2507 women were enrolled; infants’ allergy events were recorded prospectively. The main outcome was doctor-diagnosed infantile eczema.
Worms were detected in 68% of women before treatment. Doctor-diagnosed infantile eczema incidence was 10.4/100 infant years. Maternal albendazole treatment was associated with a significantly increased risk of eczema [Cox HR (95% CI), p: 1.82 (1.26–2.64), 0.002]; this effect was slightly stronger among infants whose mothers had no albendazole-susceptible worms than among infants whose mothers had such worms, although this difference was not statistically significant. Praziquantel showed no effect overall but was associated with increased risk among infants of mothers with Schistosoma mansoni [2.65 (1.16–6.08), interaction p = 0.02]. In a sample of infants, skin prick test reactivity and allergen-specific IgE were both associated with doctor-diagnosed eczema, indicating atopic aetiology. Albendazole was also strongly associated with reported recurrent wheeze [1.58 (1.13–2.22), 0.008]; praziquantel showed no effect.
The detrimental effects of treatment suggest that exposure to maternal worm infections in utero may protect against eczema and wheeze in infancy. The results for albendazole are also consistent with a direct drug effect. Further studies are required to investigate mechanisms of these effects, possible benefits of worms or worm products in primary prevention of allergy, and the possibility that routine deworming during pregnancy may promote allergic disease in the offspring.
albendazole; praziquantel; worms; infantile eczema; pregnancy; clinical trial
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.
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.
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.
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.
We tested the hypothesis that maternal worm infections in pregnancy affect infant motor
and neurocognitive development, and that anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy can
reverse these effects. We used measures which examine infant motor, cognitive and
executive function, including inhibition. We assessed 983 Ugandan infants aged 15 months,
using locally appropriate measures within the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study, a trial of
anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy. Key exposures were maternal worm infections and
anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy. Effects of other health and social factors were
controlled for statistically. Of the five major worm species found in the pregnant women,
two had influences on the developmental measures: Maternal Mansonella
perstans and Strongyloides stercoralis infections showed
negative associations with the A-not B-task, and Language, respectively. Performance on
other psychomotor and cognitive measures was associated with illnesses during infancy and
infants’ behavior during assessment, but not with maternal worm infections. There were no
positive effects of maternal anthelminthic treatment on infant abilities.
Mansonella perstans and Strongyloides stercoralis
infection during pregnancy seem associated with impaired early executive function and
language, respectively, but single-dose anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy was not
beneficial. The biological mechanisms that could underlie these neurocognitive effects are
discussed. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1019–1030)
Pregnancy; Helminths; De-worming; Infancy; Psychomotor; Executive function
Maternal schistosomiasis and filariasis have been shown to influence infant responses to neonatal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunisation but the effects of maternal hookworm, and of de-worming in pregnancy, are unknown.
In Entebbe, Uganda, we conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a single dose of 400 mg of albendazole in the second trimester of pregnancy. Neonates received BCG. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-5 responses to a mycobacterial antigen (crude culture filtrate proteins (CFP) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis) were measured in a whole blood assay. We analysed results for binary variables using χ2 tests and logistic regression. We analysed continuous variables using Wilcoxon's tests.
Maternal hookworm was associated with reduced maternal IFN-γ responses to CFP (adjusted odds ratio for IFN-γ > median response: 0.14 (95% confidence interval 0.02–0.83, p = 0.021). Conversely, maternal hookworm was associated with subsequent increased IFN-γ responses in their one-year-old infants (adjusted OR 17.65 (1.20–258.66; p = 0.013)). Maternal albendazole tended to reduce these effects.
Untreated hookworm infection in pregnancy was associated with reduced maternal IFN-γ responses to mycobacterial antigens, but increased responses in their infants one year after BCG immunisation. The mechanisms of these effects, and their implications for protective immunity remain, to be determined.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Infections; Co-infections; Measles; Helminth; Malaria; HIV; Maternal; Infants; Pregnancy; Immunisation
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]
Anaemia; Helminth; Pregnancy; HIV; Malaria; Uganda
Public health interventions based on distribution of anthelminthic drugs against lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) and schistosomiasis have been implemented separately to date. A better use of available resources might be facilitated by a more coordinated approach to control such infections, including the possibility of co-administering the three recommended anthelminthic drugs through a single, large-scale intervention.
Ivermectin, albendazole and praziquantel were co-administered to 5,055 children and adults living in areas endemic for LF, STH and schistosomiasis in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, during a pilot intervention aimed at elucidating and quantifying possible side-effects. Subsequently, these drugs were co-administered to about 700,000 individuals during a countrywide intervention targeting a large part of the total population of Zanzibar. Passive and active surveillance measures carried out during both interventions showed that side-effects attributable to the three drugs given at the same time were mild and self-limiting events.
Our data suggest that co-administration of ivermectin, albendazole and praziquantel is safe in areas where lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis are co-endemic and where several rounds of treatment with one or two drugs have been implemented in the past. Passive surveillance measures, however, should be continued and detection, management and reporting of possible side-effects should be considered a key component of any health intervention administering drugs.
This paper describes how the use of three drugs which are used separately in mass drug distribution programmes when given together appear safe for use in large populations which have been previously treated with the same drugs separately (Mectizan [ivermectin], albendazole and praziquantel). The target diseases—lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted worms and schistosomiasis—were prevalent in Zanzibar up to 2000 but have been largely controlled by mass drug administration. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, with the support of WHO, initiated a small scale trial in a population of triple therapy in over 5,000 people initially in two sites, and having found there were no severe adverse events associated with the combined treatment then upscaled to treat the whole of the eligible population of over 700,000. Similarly, there were no severe adverse events. This is the first time the three drugs have been used together at the same time at scale in Africa and provide a basis for expansion of integrated preventive chemotherapy of helminths (worms). The next steps need to be initiated in populations which have heavier worm loads and such interventions need to be subject to close monitoring and ethical review.
Helminth infections and malaria are widespread in the tropics. Recent studies suggest helminth infections may increase susceptibility to malaria. If confirmed, this could be particularly important during pregnancy-induced immunosuppression.
To evaluate the geographical distribution of Plasmodium falciparum-helminth co-infection, and associations between parasite species in pregnant women in Entebbe, Uganda.
A cross-sectional study was conducted at baseline in a trial of anti-helminthics during pregnancy. Helminth and P.falciparum infections were quantified in 2507 asymptomatic women; socio-demographic and geographical details were recorded.
Hookworm and Mansonella perstans were associated with P.falciparum but the effect of hookworm was seen only in the absence of M.perstans (OR for P.falciparum, adjusted for age, tribe, socioeconomic status, HIV and location: hookworm without M.perstans 1.53 (95% CI 1.09-2.14); M.perstans without hookworm 2.33 (1.47-3.69), both hookworm and M.perstans, 1.85 (1.24-2.76)). No association was observed between Schistosoma mansoni, Trichuris or Strongyloides and P.falciparum.
Hookworm-P.falciparum and M.perstans-P.falciparum co-infection amongst pregnant women in Entebbe is more common than expected by chance. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism of this association. Helminth-induced increased susceptibility to P.falciparum could have important consequences for pregnancy outcome and responses to malaria in infancy.
Malaria; Helminth; Hookworm; Mansonella perstans; Plasmodium falciparum; Co-Infection; Spatial; Geographic Factors; Pregnancy; Uganda
To assess the reliability of maternally recalled birthweight and size in Entebbe, Uganda.
The study population comprised 404 mothers, who were participants in the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study (EMaBS). Mothers were recruited to EMaBS during antenatal care, maternal characteristics were recorded during pregnancy, and birthweight was recorded at delivery. Four to seven years after delivery, mothers were asked to recall the child’s birthweight and size. Their responses were compared with the birthweight recorded in the EMaBS database.
Of 404 interviewed mothers, 303 (75%) were able to give an estimate of birthweight and for 265 of these EMaBS data on recorded birthweights were available. Women who were educated and whose children had low birth order were more likely to be able to give an estimate: 37 (14%) recalled the exact recorded birthweight; a further 52 (20%) were accurate to within 0.1 kg of the recorded weight. On average, mothers overestimated birthweight by 0.06 kg (95% CI: 0.00–0.13 kg, P = 0.04). Recalled and recorded birthweights showed moderate agreement with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.64. Four hundered mothers gave an estimate of birth size: the sensitivity and specificity of recalled birth size for classifying low birthweight were 76% (95% CI: 50–93%) and 70% (95% CI: 65–75%), respectively.
Mothers’ recall of birthweight was not precise but in absence of other data, recall of birthweight and size may have some value in epidemiological studies in these settings.
birthweight; reliability; validity; uganda
Offspring of women with schistosomiasis may exhibit immune responsiveness to schistosomes due to in utero sensitisation or trans-placental transfer of antibodies. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy boosts maternal immune responses to schistosome antigens and reduces worm burden. Effects of praziquantel treatment during pregnancy on responses among offspring are unknown.
In a trial of anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy in Uganda (ISRCTN32849447; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN32849447/elliott), offspring of women with Schistosoma mansoni were examined for cytokine and antibody responses to schistosome worm (SWA) and egg (SEA) antigen, in cord blood and at age one year. Relationships to maternal responses and pre-treatment infection intensities were examined, and responses were compared between the offspring of women who did, or did not receive praziquantel treatment during pregnancy.
Of 388 S. mansoni-infected women studied, samples were obtained at age one year from 215 of their infants. Stool examination for S. mansoni eggs was negative for all infants. Cord and infant samples were characterised by very low cytokine production in response to schistosome antigens with the exception of cord IL-10 responses, which were substantial. Cord and infant cytokine responses showed no association with maternal responses. As expected, cord blood levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G to SWA and SEA were high and correlated with maternal antibodies. However, by age one year IgG levels had waned and were hardly detectable. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy showed no effect on cytokine responses or antibodies levels to SWA or SEA either in cord blood or at age one year, except for IgG1 to SWA, which was elevated in infants of treated mothers, reflecting maternal levels. There was some evidence that maternal infection intensity was positively associated with cord blood IL-5 and IL-13 responses to SWA, and IL-5 responses to SEA, and that this association was modified by treatment with praziquantel.
Despite strong effects on maternal infection intensity and maternal immune responses, praziquantel treatment of infected women during pregnancy had no effect on anti-schistosome immune responses among offspring by age one year. Whether the treatment will impact upon the offspring's responses on exposure to primary schistosome infection remains to be elucidated.
As there is a scarcity of evidence on potential hazards and preventive factors for infantile eczema operating in the prenatal period, the main goal of this study was to assess the role of prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in the occurrence of infant eczema jointly with the possible modulating effect of maternal fish consumption.
The study sample consisted of 469 women enrolled during pregnancy, who gave birth to term babies (>36 weeks of gestation). Among all pregnant women recruited, personal measurements of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were performed over 48 h in the second trimester of pregnancy. After delivery, every 3 months in the first year of the newborn's life, a detailed, standardized, face-to-face interview was administered to each mother, in the process of which a trained interviewer recorded any history of infantile eczema and data on potential environmental hazards. The estimated risk of eczema related to higher prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5 >53.0 μg/m3) and postnatal ETS as well as the protective effect of maternal fish intake were adjusted for potential confounders in a multivariable logistic regression model.
While the separate effects of higher prenatal PM2.5 and postnatal ETS exposure were not statistically significant, their joint effect appeared to have a significant influence on the occurrence of infantile eczema [odds ratio 2.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–5.18]. With maternal fish intake of more than 205 g/week, the risk of eczema decreased by 43% (odds ratio 0.57, 95% CI 0.35–0.93). The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for eczema symptoms, estimated from the Poisson regression model, was increased with both higher exposure to prenatal PM2.5 and postnatal ETS (IRR 1.55, 95% CI 0.99–2.44) and in children of atopic mothers (IRR 1.35, 95% CI 1.04–1.75) but was lower in girls (IRR 0.78, 95% CI 0.61–1.00). The observed preventive effect of fish consumption on the frequency of eczema symptoms was consistent with the results of the logistic analysis (IRR 0.72, 95% CI 0.52–0.99).
The findings indicate that higher prenatal exposure to fine particulate matter combined with postnatal exposure to ETS may increase the risk of infant eczema, while maternal fish intake during pregnancy may reduce the risk of infantile eczema.
Fish consumption; Prenatal exposure to fine particles; Cow's milk allergy; Passive tobacco smoke; Cohort study
Helminths have profound effects on the immune response, allowing long-term
survival of parasites with minimal damage to the host. Some of these effects
"spill-over", altering responses to
non-helminth antigens or allergens. It is suggested that this may lead to
impaired responses to immunizations and infections, while conferring
benefits against inflammatory responses in allergic and autoimmune disease.
These effects might develop in utero, through exposure to maternal helminth
infections, or through direct exposure in later life.
To determine the effects of helminths and their treatment in pregnancy and in
young children on immunological and disease outcomes in childhood.
The trial has three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
interventions at two times, in two people: a pregnant woman and her child.
Pregnant women are randomized to albendazole or placebo and praziquantel or
placebo. At age 15 months their children are randomized to three-monthly
albendazole or placebo, to continue to age five years. The proposed
designation for this sequence of interventions is a 2 X 2(x2) factorial
Children are immunized with BCG and against polio, Diphtheria, tetanus,
Pertussis, Haemophilus, hepatitis B and measles. Primary immunological
outcomes are responses to BCG antigens and tetanus toxoid in whole blood
cytokine assays and antibody assays at one, three and five years of age.
Primary disease outcomes are incidence of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea,
tuberculosis, measles, vertical HIV transmission, and atopic disease
episodes, measured at clinic visits and twice-monthly home visits. Effects
on anaemia, growth and intellectual development are also assessed.
This trial, with a novel design comprising related interventions in pregnant
women and their offspring, is the first to examine effects of helminths and
their treatment in pregnancy and early childhood on immunological,
infectious disease and allergic disease outcomes. The results will enhance
understanding of both detrimental and beneficial effects of helminth
infection and inform policy. Clinical Trials 2007; 4: 42–57.
Anaemia during pregnancy and at delivery is an important public health problem in low- and middle-income countries. Its association with the children’s haemoglobin level over time remains unclear. Our goals were to identify distinct haemoglobin level trajectories using latent class analysis and to assess the association between these trajectories and maternal anaemia and other risk factors.
A prospective study of children from birth to 18 months of life was conducted in a rural setting in Tori-Bossito, Benin. The main outcome measure was the haemoglobin levels repeatedly measured at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 months. Variables were collected from the mothers at delivery and from their children at birth and during the follow-up. The analyses were performed by means of Latent Class Analysis which has never been used for this kind of data. All the analyses were performed with Stata software, version 11.0, using the generalized linear latent and mixed model (GLLAMM) framework.
We showed that 33.7% of children followed a low haemoglobin trajectory and 66.3% a high trajectory during the first 18 months of life. Newborn anaemia, placental malaria, malaria attack, sickle cell trait and male gender were significantly associated with a lower children’s haemoglobin level over time, whereas maternal age, children living in a polygamous family and with good feeding practices had a higher Hb level in the first18 months. We also showed that maternal anaemia was a predictor for ‘low haemoglobin level trajectory’ group membership but have no significant effect on children haemoglobin level over time.
Latent Class Analyses framework seems well suited to analyse longitudinal data under the hypothesis that different subpopulations of subjects are present in the data, each with its own set of parameters, with distinctive evolutions that themselves may reflect distinctive aetiologies.
Background and Aim: Anaemia occurring during pregnancy is an important public health problem in developing countries. In India, anaemia is one of the most common causes of maternal death, accounting for 20% of total maternal deaths. This study was conducted with the aim of evaluating anaemia among booked antenatal mothers during the last trimester, its possible impact on pregnancy and its outcome in antenatal mothers, visiting antenatal clinic in a teaching tertiary care hospital at Pondicherry, India.
Material and Methods: This hospital based, descriptive, cross sectional study was conducted in the Department of Clinical Pathology and Pharmacology at Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College Hospital in Pondicherry, India. Socio–economic and gestational status data was collected with the help of structured questionnaire from booked antenatal mothers in third trimester. Venous blood was collected for the estimation of Haemoglobin by using Sahli’s Haemoglobinometer and morphological typing of anaemia was estimated by using Leishmann Stain peripheral blood smears. The women were followed-up till delivery and their antenatal, neonatal and other birth outcomes were recorded.
Results: Seventy five booked antenatal women, aged 19 - 40 years, with gestational ages of 27– 40 weeks, were recruited for the study. We observed that among 75 antenatal mothers, the Haemoglobin level was less than 10grams% in 83% cases and that it was more than 10 grams% in 17% cases. Iron deficiency anaemia and dimorphic anaemia were recorded in 37% and 19% of the women respectively. High percentage of anaemia was noted in women of higher age group (23–27 years), in those with multi–parity (55%) and low educational levels (100%) and in mothers of low socio–economic status (100%). In the pregnancy outcomes, 85% and 60% anaemic mothers reported maternal and foetal complications respectively.
Conclusion: In spite of regular antenatal visits in third trimester, maternal anaemia is still high and it is often associated with low education status, socio-economic status and multi-parity, based on our study. There is a need of health education programmes with respect to haematinics compliance and adequate intake of iron rich diet during pregnancy, to be strengthened for safe maternal and foetal outcomes.
Pregnant women; Anaemia; Haemoglobin; Maternal outcome; Foetal outcome
In the framework of the monitoring and evaluation of the Nigerien schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth control programme, a follow-up of children took place in eight sentinel sites. The objective of the study was to assess the evolution of Schistosoma haematobium infection and anaemia in schoolchildren after a single administration of praziquantel (PZQ) and albendazole.
Pre-treatment examination and follow-up at one year post-treatment of schoolchildren aged 7, 8, and 11 years, including interview, urine examination, ultrasound examination of the urinary tract, and measurement of haemoglobin. Before treatment, the overall prevalence of S. heamatobium infection was 75.4% of the 1,642 enrolled children, and 21.8% of children excreted more than 50 eggs/10 ml urine. Prevalence increased with age. The overall prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin <11.5 g/dl) was 61.6%, decreasing significantly with increasing age. The mean haemoglobinemia was 11 g/dl. In bivariate analysis, anaemia was significantly more frequent in children infected with S. haematobium, although it was not correlated to the intensity of infection. Anaemia was also associated with micro-haematuria and to kidney distensions. In a sub-sample of 636 children tested for P. falciparum infection, anaemia was significantly more frequent in malaria-infected children. In multivariate analysis, significant predictors of anaemia were P. falciparum infection, kidney distension, and the village. One year after a single-dose praziquantel treatment (administered using the WHO PZQ dose pole) co-administered with albendazole (400 mg single dose) for de-worming, the prevalence of S. haematobium infection was 38%, while the prevalence of anaemia fell to 50.4%. The mean haemoglobinemia showed a statistically significant increase of 0.39 g/dl to reach 11.4 g/dl. Anaemia was no longer associated with S. haematobium or to P. falciparum infections, or to haematuria or ultrasound abnormalities of the urinary tract.
The high prevalence of anaemia in Nigerien children is clearly a result of many factors and not of schistosomiasis alone. Nevertheless, treatment of schistosomiasis and de-worming were followed by a partial, but significant, reduction of anaemia in schoolchildren, not explainable by any other obvious intervention.
The World Health Organization's recommendation for the control of urinary schistosomiasis is to reduce morbidity by reducing the prevalence of heavy infections. In Niger, where urinary schistosomiasis is endemic along the Niger River valley and in proximity to ponds, a national control programme for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth was launched in 2004 with the financial support of the Gates Foundation through the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative. In the framework of the monitoring and evaluation of the control programme, a follow-up of school children took place in eight sentinel sites. The aim of this study was to assess the evolution of Schistosoma haematobium infection and associated morbidity after a single-dose administration of praziquantel and albendazole. Before treatment, the overall prevalence of S. heamatobium infection was 75.4% and anaemia (haemoglobin <11.5 g/dl) was present in 61.6% of the study sample. One year after a single-dose praziquantel treatment (administered by dose-pole) co-administered with albendazole (400 mg single dose) for de-worming, all morbidity markers of the infection decreased significantly. This study shows how a schistosomiasis control programme can benefit populations by improving their health status.
To assess the associations between maternal HIV infection and growth outcomes of HIV-exposed but uninfected infants and to identify other predictors for poor growth among this population.
Within a trial of de-worming during pregnancy, the cohort of offspring was followed from birth. HIV status of the mothers and their children was investigated and growth data for children were obtained at age 1 year. Length-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-length Z-scores were calculated for each child; Z-scores <−2 were defined as stunting, underweight and wasting, respectively.
The study was conducted in Entebbe municipality and Katabi sub-county, Uganda.
The sample consisted of 1502 children aged 1 year: HIV-unexposed (n 1380) and HIV-exposed not infected (n 122).
Prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 14·2 %, 8·0 % and 3·9 %, respectively. There was evidence for an association between maternal HIV infection and odds of being underweight (adjusted OR = 2·32; 95 % CI 1·32, 4·09; P = 0·006) but no evidence for an association with stunting or with wasting. Young maternal age, low maternal education, low birth weight, early weaning and experiencing a higher number of episodes of malaria during infancy were independent predictors for stunting and underweight. A higher number of living children in the family was associated with wasting.
Maternal HIV infection was associated with being underweight in HIV-exposed uninfected infants. The success of programmes for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission means that an increasing number of infants will be born to HIV-infected women without acquiring HIV. Therefore, viable nutritional interventions need to be identified for this population.
HIV exposure; Poor growth; Infancy; Uganda
Although substantiated by little evidence, concerns about zidovudine-related anaemia in pregnancy have influenced antiretroviral (ARV) regimen choice for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1, especially in settings where anaemia is common.
Eligible HIV-infected pregnant women in Burkina Faso, Kenya and South Africa were followed from 28 weeks of pregnancy until 12–24 months after delivery (n = 1070). Women with a CD4 count of 200-500cells/mm3 and gestational age 28–36 weeks were randomly assigned to zidovudine-containing triple-ARV prophylaxis continued during breastfeeding up to 6-months, or to zidovudine during pregnancy plus single-dose nevirapine (sd-NVP) at labour. Additionally, two cohorts were established, women with CD4 counts: <200 cells/mm3 initiated antiretroviral therapy, and >500 cells/mm3 received zidovudine during pregnancy plus sd-NVP at labour. Mild (haemoglobin 8.0-10.9 g/dl) and severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 8.0 g/dl) occurrence were assessed across study arms, using Kaplan-Meier and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.
At enrolment (corresponded to a median 32 weeks gestation), median haemoglobin was 10.3 g/dl (IQR = 9.2-11.1). Severe anaemia occurred subsequently in 194 (18.1%) women, mostly in those with low baseline haemoglobin, lowest socio-economic category, advanced HIV disease, prolonged breastfeeding (≥6 months) and shorter ARV exposure. Severe anaemia incidence was similar in the randomized arms (equivalence P-value = 0.32). After 1–2 months of ARV’s, severe anaemia was significantly reduced in all groups, though remained highest in the low CD4 cohort.
Severe anaemia occurs at a similar rate in women receiving longer triple zidovudine-containing regimens or shorter prophylaxis. Pregnant women with pre-existing anaemia and advanced HIV disease require close monitoring.
Trial registration number
Zidovudine; Pregnancy; HIV; Sub-Saharan Africa; Anaemia; Drug toxicity
Question In my practice several patients have struggled with cocaine abuse during their pregnancies. One woman, now postpartum, wants to breastfeed her infant. Despite being abstinent for the final few months of her pregnancy, I am concerned about the potential adverse effects on her child if she happens to relapse. What is the current evidence about the risks of cocaine exposure during breastfeeding?
Answer Given the substantial benefits of breastfeeding for infant health and development, there is no reason for mothers who previously abused cocaine to avoid breastfeeding. It is important for the health care team to counsel patients both on the serious potential risks of cocaine exposure for babies and on the benefits of breastfeeding, to allow for an informed choice. Additionally, attempts should be made to estimate maternal commitment to breastfeeding and discontinuation of cocaine use, and to offer addiction counseling to mitigate the potential risks of infant cocaine exposure. It is paramount to minimize the risk to the infant, which would certainly include mothers ceasing use of cocaine while breastfeeding. For mothers who elect to breastfeed and use cocaine intermittently, breastfeeding should be delayed sufficiently after cocaine use to allow for drug elimination (approximately 24 hours).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reducing the incidence of Low birth weight (LBW) neonates by at least one third between 2000 and 2010 is one of the major goals of the United Nations resolution "A World Fit for Children". This was a case-control study conducted between August-October 2009 in Medani Hospital, Sudan to investigate the risk factors for LBW. Cases were mothers who delivered singleton baby < 2500 gm. Controls were mothers delivered singleton baby of ≥ 2500 gm.
Out of 1224 deliveries, 97 (12.6%) of the neonates were LBW deliveries. While maternal socio-demographic characteristics (age, parity and mother education) and anthropometrics measurements were not associated with LBW, lack of antenatal care (OR = 5.9, 95% CI = 1.4-24.4; P = 0.01) and maternal anaemia (OR = 9.0, 95% CI = 3.4-23.8; P < 0.001) were the main risk factor for LBW.
Thus, more care on antenatal care and nutrition may prevent LBW.
An observational study was conducted in the four southernmost provinces of Thailand aiming at determining the effect of international or Asian criteria-based body mass index (BMI) in predicting maternal anaemia, low birthweight (LBW), and preterm births among pregnant Thai women and the change in haemoglobin (Hb) level during pregnancy. Maternal anaemia was defined as a haemoglobin (Hb) level of <11 g/dL. Anaemia was detected in 27.4% and 26.9% of 1,192 pregnant women at their first prenatal visit and the third trimester respectively. The proportions of overweight and obese women according to the Asian criteria-based pre-pregnancy BMI were higher than the international criteria-based BMI (22.4% and 10.1% vs 15.5% and 3.4% respectively). No significant difference between pre-pregnancy BMI and pregnancy BMI at the first prenatal visit was demonstrated (mean±standard deviation=21.8±4.0 vs 22.8±4.1). Underweight women had a significantly higher prevalence of maternal anaemia, LBW, and preterm birth compared to women with normal weight. Overweight and obese women at pre-pregnancy by the Asian criteria-based BMI had a lower prevalence of anaemia. The Hb levels did not change significantly over time. In addition to BMI, maternal age, parity, and late prenatal visit were independently associated with maternal anaemia, low birthweight, and preterm birth. Underweight pregnant women classified by international or Asian criteria-based BMI increased the risk of maternal anaemia, low birthweight, and preterm birth.
Anaemia; Body mass index; Observational studies; Pregnancy; Thailand
Infection with Toxoplasma gondii is asymptomatic or mild in immunocompetent people and leads to lifelong immunity, but it can have serious consequences in pregnancy. About five per thousand non-immune pregnant women may acquire toxoplasma infection, with a 10-100% risk of transmission to the baby. Risks of transmission to the baby are higher later in pregnancy, but risks of infection causing harm to the baby are greater earlier in pregnancy.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects on mother and baby of treating toxoplasmosis during pregnancy? What are the effects of treating toxoplasmosis in neonates exposed to toxoplasmosis prenatally? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to July 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found four systematic reviews, RCTs or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antiparasitic drugs in pregnancy, antiparasitic drugs in neonates.
Infection with Toxoplasma gondii is asymptomatic or mild in immunocompetent people, and leads to lifelong immunity, but it can have serious consequences in pregnancy.
About five per thousand non-immune pregnant women may acquire toxoplasma infection, with a 10-100% risk of transmission to the baby.Infection is usually acquired from undercooked meat, or from fruit and vegetables contaminated with cat faeces.Fetal infection can cause eye and brain damage, growth retardation, and intrauterine death.Risks of transmission to the baby are higher later in pregnancy, but risks of infection causing harm to the baby are greater earlier in pregnancy.Children with subclinical infection at birth may have cognitive, motor, or visual defects that may be difficult to diagnose in early childhood.
We don't know whether treating infected pregnant women with spiramycin, pyrimethamine-sulphonamides, or both reduces the risk of fetal infection, as the few studies that have been done have produced conflicting results.
It is possible that treatment of infection in pregnancy may save the pregnancy without preventing infection, which could increase the prevalence of congenital disease.
We don't know whether antiparasitic drugs, given to neonates who have been infected prenatally, are effective, although there is consensus that infected infants should be treated with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine for 6 to 12 months.