Schistosomes, hookworm and trichuris infections synergize to increase the risk of anemia

June 4, 2008

New research published June 4th in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases provides evidence that the risk of anemia is amplified in children simultaneously infected with hookworm and schistosomes or hookworm and trichuris, when compared to the sum of risks for children with singular infections.

Amara Ezeamama and colleagues conducted this study in 507 school-age children from helminth-endemic villages in The Philippines, to determine whether co- infections of hookworm, schistosomes and trichuris in polyparasitized individuals magnified the risk of becoming anemic beyond the sum of risks associated with individual infections.

It is common in many tropical developing countries for individuals to be infected with several parasites at the same time. Despite this widespread phenomenon, the functional and health consequences of multiple infections for parasite-associated morbidity such as anemia are not clearly understood.

Previous work by these scientists suggested that low-intensity polyparasitic infections were associated with higher odds of anemia among school-age children relative to uninfected children or children with one low infection. This study goes further to specifically evaluate the type and extent of biological interactions between helminth species in polyparasitized individuals.

Results from this research suggest that combined treatment for some helminth species and schistosomes could yield greater than additive benefits for reducing the burden of anemia in helminth-endemic areas. However, more studies to understand the full range of interactions between parasite species in their joint effects on helminth-associated morbidities will be necessary to better predict the impact of wide-scale public health intervention.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Infection with two species of schistosome does not affect treatment efficacy

Related Stories

Research targets parasitic worm disease

November 25, 2013

The worms can live inside your body for years, decades even. And it's not the worms themselves that will eventually make you sick. Rather, it's the thousands of eggs they lay.

Neglected tropical diseases: A new handle on old problems

January 6, 2012

‘Neglected tropical diseases’ is a new name for old diseases that cause long-term suffering among the world’s poorest people. The Wellcome Trust and others have funded research into these diseases for decades, ...

The most important disease you've never heard of

January 14, 2014

This sounds like the plot line of a horror/sci-fi movie: A freshwater parasite slips through the skin and into the bloodstream. Once inside, the invader lives and breeds undetected for a decade or more, feasting on nutrients ...

Recommended for you

Fatty liver: Turning off TAZ reverses disease

October 27, 2016

Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have identified a factor in liver cells that is responsible for turning a relatively benign liver condition, present in 30 percent of U.S. adults, into a serious disease ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.