Deworming to combat the health and nutritional impact of soil-transmitted helminths
Soil-transmitted helminths are among the most common infections in developing countries. They impair the nutritional status of the people they infect in multiple ways, including:
- feeding on host tissues, including blood, which leads to a loss of iron and protein
- increasing malabsorption of nutrients.
Some soil-transmitted helminths also cause loss of appetite and therefore a reduction of nutrition intake and physical fitness.
The nutritional impairment caused by soil-transmitted helminths is recognized to have a significant impact on growth and physical development. To reduce the worm burden, WHO recommends periodic drug treatment (deworming) of all children living in endemic areas. WHO also recommends health and hygiene education, and the provision of adequate sanitation.
Status: not currently available
Other guidance documents
Helminth control in school-age children. A guide for managers of control programmes
Preventive chemotherapy in human helminthiasis. Coordinated use of anthelminthic drugs in control interventions: a manual for health professionals and programme managers [pdf 1.58Mb]
How to add deworming to vitamin A distribution [pdf 651kb]
Strengthening interventions to reduce helminth infections as an entry point for the development of health promoting schools [pdf 2.89Mb]
Related Cochrane reviews
- Deworming drugs for soil-transmitted intestinal worms in children: effects on nutritional indicators, haemoglobin and school performance
Other related systematic reviews
Impact of hookworm infection and deworming on anaemia in non-pregnant populations: a systematic review.
A review and meta-analysis of the impact of intestinal worms on child growth and nutrition.