Intestinal nematode infection and anaemia in developing countries

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39211.572905.80 (Published 24 May 2007)
Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1065

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  1. Shally Awasthi, professor1,
  2. Donald Bundy, lead specialist2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, King George's Medical University, Lucknow (UP), India 226003
  2. 2Human Development Network, World Bank, Washington, DC 20433 USA
  1. sawasthi{at}sancharnet.in

    Deworming and iron supplementation are cheap and effective

    In low and middle income countries, about 1.2 billion people are infected with roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), and more than 700 million are infected with hookworm (Necator americanus or Ancylostoma duodenale) or whipworm (Trichuris trichiura).1 Infection with intestinal nematodes is linked with poverty because of its association with unsafe disposal of faeces, in which the infective stages develop.

    Infection can occur in all age groups but is most common in school age children. Though infection can be fatal,2 the major burden of disease is due to its insidious effects on physical and cognitive development during childhood.3 Anaemia, for example, is commonly associated with infection and can impair cognitive ability.4 In areas of high prevalence of infection in East Africa, 15-25% of anaemia in schoolchildren is due to hookworm infection.5

    In this week's BMJ, a systematic …

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