The Interaction of Deworming, Improved Sanitation, and Household Flooring with Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection in Rural Bangladesh

Citation: Benjamin-Chung J, Nazneen A, Halder AK, Haque R, Siddique A, Uddin MS, et al. (2015) The Interaction of Deworming, Improved Sanitation, and Household Flooring with Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection in Rural Bangladesh. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(12): e0004256. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004256
Published: December 1, 2015

Abstract
Ascaris_lumbricoidesBackground: The combination of deworming and improved sanitation or hygiene may result in greater reductions in soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection than any single intervention on its own. We measured STH prevalence in rural Bangladesh and assessed potential interactions among deworming, hygienic latrines, and household finished floors.
Methodology: We conducted a cross-sectional survey (n = 1,630) in 100 villages in rural Bangladesh to measure three exposures: self-reported deworming consumption in the past 6 months, access to a hygienic latrine, and household flooring material. We collected stool samples from children 1–4 years, 5–12 years, and women 15–49 years. We performed mini-FLOTAC on preserved stool samples to detect Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, hookworm, and Trichuris trichiura ova. Approximately one-third (32%) of all individuals and 40% of school-aged children had an STH infection. Less than 2% of the sample had moderate/heavy intensity infections. Deworming was associated with lower Ascaris prevalence (adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) = 0.53; 95% CI 0.40, 0.71), but there was no significant association with hookworm (PR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.60, 1.44) or Trichuris (PR = 0.90, 95% CI 0.74, 1.08). PRs for hygienic latrine access were 0.91 (95% CI 0.67,1.24), 0.73 (95% CI 0.43,1.24), and 1.03 (95% CI 0.84,1.27) for Ascaris, hookworm, and Trichuris, respectively. Finished floors were associated with lower Ascaris prevalence (PR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.32, 0.97) but not associated with hookworm (PR = 0.48 95% CI 0.16,1.45) or Trichuris (PR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.72,1.33). Across helminths and combinations of exposures, adjusted prevalence ratios for joint exposures were consistently more protective than those for individual exposures.
Conclusions: We found moderate STH prevalence in rural Bangladesh among children and women of childbearing age. This study is one of the first to examine independent and combined associations with deworming, sanitation, and hygiene. Our results suggest that coupling deworming with sanitation and flooring interventions may yield more sustained reductions in STH prevalence.

Author Summary: Soil-transmitted helminth infections remain prevalent in many low-resource areas of the world. The World Health Organization recommends that schoolchildren in countries where these infections remain common receive deworming medication two times a year. However, previous research has shown that people who live in countries where these infections are common are frequently reinfected within 6 months of taking deworming medication. Programs that improve sanitation and hygiene might help complement deworming programs to reduce reinfection and prevent transmission. We conducted a survey of women and children in rural Bangladesh to understand potential sanitation and hygiene interventions that could complement deworming. We found that people who took deworming medication and had access to a hygienic latrine had a lower worm infection prevalence than people who only took deworming medication. We also found that people who took deworming medication and had a house with a finished floor had a lower prevalence than people who only took deworming medication. Our results suggest that coupling deworming with sanitation and flooring interventions may be a more successful strategy for reducing STH transmission in the long run.

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