Helminth infections research priorities identified

TDR news item
16 October 2012

Research gaps and challenges have been identified in a new report on helminth infections, published by TDR’s Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections.

Helminths are a broad range of organisms that include intestinal parasitic worms. They are the most common infections worldwide when transmitted by soil, and affect the poorest and most deprived communities. More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world's population are infected, with the greatest numbers occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and east Asia.

The current strategy to control infections is through periodic deworming of at-risk people living in endemic areas. The research priorities identified are focused on improving this control through five major core themes:

  • Intervention
  • Epidemiology and surveillance
  • Environmental and social ecology
  • Data and modeling
  • Fundamental biology

The report also outlines the need for appropriate health research policies and building research capacity in disease-endemic countries where the infections occur.

The Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections is part of an independent think tank of international experts, established by TDR to identify key research priorities. The mandate was to evaluate information on research and challenges in helminthiases of public health importance, including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, food-borne trematodiases and taeniasis/cysticercosis.

This is one of ten disease and thematic reference group reports that have come out of the TDR Think Tank, all of which have contributed to the development of the Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Guth
TDR Communications Manager
Telephone: +41 79 441 2289
E-mail: guthj@who.int