Helminths are a broad range of organisms that include intestinal parasitic worms, (roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura), or hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).
Infected people excrete helminth eggs in their faeces, which then contaminate the soil in areas with inadequate sanitation. Other people can then be infected by ingesting eggs or larvae in contaminated food, or through penetration of the skin by infective larvae in the soil (hookworms).
Infestation can cause morbidity, and sometimes death, by compromising nutritional status, affecting cognitive processes, inducing tissue reactions, such as granuloma, and provoking intestinal obstruction or rectal prolapse. Control of helminthiasis is based on drug treatment, improved sanitation and health education.
TDR related research
TDR supports research on this disease. Our work is being conducted in the following areas:
- Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths
- Research profile of moxidectin at TDR
- A new drug for onchocerciasis
More information about our activities relating to helminthiasis:
Enhanced informed consent form published
New funding for continued development of onchocerciasis treatment moxidectin
WHO estimates investments needed for neglected tropical diseases
Scientific group on vectors, environment and society meets
Research priorities for helminth infections
Changing Mindsets: Research Capacity strengthening in low and middle-income countries
A human rights-based approach to neglected tropical diseases
TDR and China: 30 years of collaboration
The collaboration between TDR and the Government of the People's Republic of China dates back to 1979 when TDR first provided grants to Chinese researchers. This video shows the impact of the early support to researchers to study abroad and support work in their country that contributed toward the elimination of malaria and schistosomiasis. Institutes profiled include the Yunnan Institute of Parasitic Diseases in Simao, the Jiangsu Institute for Parasitic Diseases in Wuxi, and the China Center of Disease Control's National Institute of Parasitic Diseases and The National Centre for Drug Screening in Shanghai.
Empowering communities to fight disease
In many countries in Africa, a disease caused by worms blinded thousands of people in the last couple decades. In an effort to stop this epidemic, hundreds of communities were asked how they would set up programmes to deliver an annual medication. The approach was highly successful, with blindness now almost completely eliminated. Now that same approach is being used to address another major killer – malaria.
Related links from WHO
- WHO fact sheet: soil-transmitted helminth infections
- WHO programme information: lymphatic filariasis
- WHO programme information: onchocerciasis
- WHO programme information: African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)
- WHO programme information: schistosomiasis
- WHO programme information: intestinal worms
- Data: soil-transmitted helminthiases
- Data: schistosomiasis
- Data: lymphatic filariasis