TropIKA.net reader Nicolas Gilbert - from the Division of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Canada - has alerted us to a new publication by him and his colleagues .
Anaemia in pregnancy remains a widespread and serious issue in the world’s poorest communities, and infection with soil-transmitted helminths (STHs), such as Trichuris and hookworm, is often a major contributory factor. Using data from a trial involving around one thousand pregnant women in Peru, the researchers showed that higher intensities of both Trichuris and hookworm infections were associated with anaemia in pregnancy.
All women in the trial were given iron supplements; half were randomly allocated to receive single dose 500mg mebendazole, and half, placebo. Mebendazole significantly reduced the prevalence and intensity of the STH infections. Higher intensities of hookworm and Trichuris infections in the second trimester were associated with a higher risk of anaemia in the third trimester. Overall, women with moderate/heavy Trichuris infection were found to be at a higher risk of anaemia; the highest risk was observed among those with moderate/heavy hookworm co-infection. Mebendazole treatment did not, however, reduce the risk of anaemia.
The study’s findings provide empirical evidence in favour of including deworming in antenatal care programmes in areas where there is a high prevalence of STHs.
1. Gyorkos TW, Gilbert NL, Larocque R, Casapía M (2011). Trichuris and hookworm infections associated with anaemia during pregnancy. Trop Med Int Health; 16(4):531-7. Available in full online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02727.x/full