Short communication: Efficacy of DEC against Ascaris and hookworm infections in schoolchildren
Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) is an important drug for treatment and control of lymphatic filariasis. To assess its possible effect on Ascaris and hookworm infections, we conducted a double-blind two-armed study with children in Tanzania. Twenty six Ascaris-infected children were given a single dose of DEC (6 mg/kg body weight) and 25 were given a placebo. Twenty children in the treatment group and eighteen controls were also infected with hookworms. One month after treatment the geometric mean intensity (GMI) of Ascaris egg output was reduced by 60.2% in the treatment group; two children (7.7%) had stopped excreting Ascaris eggs, and some Ascaris worms were also expelled. In hookworm-infected children in the treatment group, the geometric mean intensity of hookworm egg output was reduced by 6.7% 1 month after treatment. Neither for Ascaris nor for hookworm, however, was the observed reduction in egg output at 1 month after treatment statistically significant. The treatment efficacy of a single dose of DEC (6 mg/kg) in these infections therefore was low.