Research Article

Comparative prevalences of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm infections and the prospects for combined control

M. Bootha1 and D. A. P. Bundya1

a1 Wellcome Trust Research Centre for Parasitic Infections, Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BB

Programmes to control Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm infections have often been targeted at each infection separately, but the advent of benign and broad-spectrum anthelmintics suggests that combined control ma be feasible. The extent to which the infections co-occur in communities will determine the need for, and potential benefits of, such a combined approach. This paper examines the comparative distribution of the three geohelminths in different geographical areas and shows that A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura have closely related distributions, while hookworm infection is largely independent of the other two. These results indicate that many communities are at risk of disease from infection by more than one species of helminth. The similar distributions and epidemiological characteristics of A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura suggest that simultaneous control of these two parasites by the same strategy would be feasible and highly beneficial to communities. Multiple species control strategies which aim to control hookworm infection may require a more complicated protocol with more precise locality targeting.

(Received October 05 1991)

(Revised January 21 1992)

(Accepted January 21 1992)