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Efficacy of co-administration of albendazole and diethylcarbamazine against geohelminthiases: a study from South India

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The efficacy of single-dose combination drug therapy with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) plus albendazole (ALB), and single-drug therapy with DEC alone against geohelminths was compared as part of a mass drug administration (MDA) for elimination of filariasis. This study was conducted in two blocks of Villupuram District of Tamil Nadu State, India, covering a population of 321 000 including about 100 000 children 1–15 years of age. Prevalence and intensity of geohelminth infection were determined by the Kato–Katz technique immediately before and 3 weeks after the MDA. A pre-treatment cross-sectional survey was undertaken in 18 statistically selected villages out of 204 villages, including 646 school children. About 60% were infected with one or more geohelminths. The overall prevalence rates were 53.9%, 12.4% and 5.7% for Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworms and Trichuris trichiura, respectively. Combination therapy (DEC + ALB) produced a cure rate of 74.3% and an egg reduction rate of 97.3% for geohelminths, which were higher than the corresponding rates (30.4% and 79.0%) observed in the single drug therapy arm with DEC alone. The odds of cure with combination therapy were significantly higher for roundworm (5.3 times) and hookworms (3.5 times), then odds of cure with DEC alone. Both therapies were equally effective against trichuriasis, recording cure rates >77% and egg reduction rates >83%. In combination therapy, 53.5% of the children noticed expulsion of worms after MDA, while in single drug therapy only 20.9% did. Our study indicated that MDA of combination therapy was operationally feasible at the community level, and it may secure higher community compliance because of its perceived benefits and enhanced efficacy against geohelminths than single-drug therapy.
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Keywords: albendazole; ascariasis; diethylcarbamazine; geohelminths; hookworms; trichuriasis

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Research in Medical Entomology (Indian Council of Medical Research), Madurai, India, 2: Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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