Current control and treatment of hookworm

Similar to schistosomiasis, cheap and effective drugs are available to treat hookworm, but these treatments do not protect against the reinfection of the parasite. In the 1990’s single-dose benzimidazoles were developed against hookworm. These are thought to be the most effective treatment for this disease. Chemotherapy treatments have now been introduced and progression is being made to creating a vaccine for this disease.

 

Current treatments

In 2001, treatment for hookworm progressed to preventative chemotherapy. This was also introduced with the aim to deworm 75% of schoolchildren at risk of hook worm and other soil transmitted helminths by the year 2010.

There are four main types of anthelminthic drugs that are essential for the treatment of hookworm. These are:

 

  • Albendazole
  • Mebendazole
  • Levamisole
  • Pyrantel pamote

Even though these drugs are considered a safe and effective treatment of hookworm and STH there are growing concerns that large scale distribution of these drugs may result in resistance. There is already research to demonstrate that single-dose mebendazole was not entirely effective in treating hookworm infections in school children in parts of Zanzibar.

Community based recommendations are essential in the control of Hookworm infections. Education in use of latrines and hygiene has been adopted as well as sanitary disposal of faeces and use of footwear to reduce risk.

 

Vaccine

Due to the increasing concern about resistance to anthelminthic drugs, development of a vaccine is taking place. With hookworm sufferers do not develop immunity over time as with schistosomiasis. However, development is taking place though laboratory animals by immunising them with larval vaccines or antigens removed from the adult worm.

It is thought that the vaccine will consist of two larval/ adult antigens. The development and distribution of the vaccine may take many years. Therefore, community based prevention must be improved until there is a market for this vaccine.

Below is more information on the development of a vaccine for hookworm through The Human Hookworm Vaccine initiative which was established in 2000 and continues research to create a safe and effective vaccine for hookworm.

(Hotez, 2006;Keiser and Utzinger, 2008;WHO, 2010;Hotez et al., 2003;Sabin Vacine Institute, 2010)

True-False Question
Please complete this short true or false quiz after reading this section to test your knowledge on control and treatment of hookworm.


1. There are four main types of drug to treat hookworm.

True False


2. There is evidence to suggest that levamisole is not effective in treating hookworm.

True False


3. The WHO aim to have dewormed 75% of children at risk of hookworm.

True False