Neglected tropical diseases

Soil transmitted helminthiasis

31 August 09 | Geneva

WHO Deworming campaign in Viet Nam, 2007

Soil transmitted helminthiasis, commonly known as intestinal worm-infection, primarily affects the world's deprived populations.

An estimated 2.3 billion people in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world are exposed to infection by hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

Infection causes a wide range of symptoms. These include intestinal manifestations such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, general malaise and weakness, mainly causing anaemia among women of child-bearing age and affecting the cognitive development and learning capacities of children.

WHO's objective is to achieve 75% of deworming among school age children by 2010, as endorsed by all member states in 2001 (Resolution 54.19 of the 54th World Health Assembly).

Treatment is cost effective and can be extended to millions of children through preventive chemotherapy.

Play now audio summary–Soil transmitted helminthiasis
00:04:49 [mp3 2,70Mb]

Watch a Kill or Cure documentory–on Soil transmitted helminthiasis
00:023:22 [wmv 160 kb]


" …treatment is so cheap … with one dollar, we can treat more than 50 children … and even distribution is very, very simple…it is unacceptable and even immoral to leave so many children untreated … ".

Dr. Antonio Montresor, Medical Officer, in charge of 'Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis' , Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO Geneva


"… the great challenge … is they not only cause profound physical disease because they are among the leading causes of growth stunting and reductions of physical fitness but they also affect childhood cognition … school performance and school attendance….

Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington DC, USA


"Preventive anthelminthic chemotherapy as we call it defines the large-scale use of extremely safe, cost effective and mostly single dose … this approach, similar to large-scale vaccination, has revolutionized the opportunity to save millions of lives …"

Dr Lorenzo Savioli, Director, Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO Geneva

More on Soil transmitted helminthiasis:

Prevention and control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis [pdf 2.87mb]
Report of a WHO Expert committee, Geneva 2002, Ref: ISBN 92 4 120912 7

Preventive chemotherapy in human helminthiasis
Manual | Dose-poles Geneva 2006, Ref: ISBN 92 4 154710 3


Coming events:

:: International stakeholder meeting for the endorsement of the integrated plan for the control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis and Trachoma), Nepal, 1-4 December 2009

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