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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The control of hookworm infection in China

Qi Zheng, Ying Chen, Hao-Bing Zhang, Jia-Xu Chen and Xiao-Nong Zhou*

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai 200025, PR China

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Parasites & Vectors 2009, 2:44  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-2-44

Published: 24 September 2009

Abstract

Background

Hookworm is still one of the three main soil-transmitted helminths prevalent in China, and 39 million cases infected with hookworm were estimated in China in 2006.

Results

The main approach to the control of hookworm infections in China consists of large-scale deworming, rebuilding sanitation systems in rural areas and health education. The availability of low-cost, safe and single-dose albendazole make large-scale deworming programs possible in China. Currently, sanitary latrines with three-cells are recommended by government for the control of soil-transmitted helminths, since 35% of helminth infections and 83% of worm eggs could be reduced after using this kind of sanitary latrine. In addition, economic prosperity contributes greatly to the reduction of hookworm prevalence, but the inequity of economic and social development among different regions of China provides a scenario that the worst threat of hookworm infection is located in the poorest areas of southern and central China. Therefore, it is necessary to put more investments into prophylaxis and treatment of hookworm in these poor regions.

Conclusion

Although the prevalence of hookworm infection has fallen significantly in the last 15 years in China, the current strategy for controlling hookworm infections still needs to be strengthened along with the three-pronged approach, e.g. distributing anthelmintic drugs in schools and undertaking large-scale of hookworm deworming, improving water supplies and sanitation, and proper health education.