Prevention & Control of Hookworm

The prevention and control of hookworm infection involves four approaches:

  • Sanitary disposal of feces.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Correction of the anemia and,
  • Health education.

Sanitation Technology

The only long–term solution is the sanitary disposal of human excreta through installation of sewage disposal systems in urban areas, and promoting the use of low–cost sanitary latrines in rural areas. This alone will prevent soil pollution. A change in farming practices may also be needed, that is not to use raw feces or untreated sewage as fertilizers.

Chemotherapy Periodic case finding and treatment of all infected persons in the community will reduce the worm burden and frequency of transmission, provided it is supported by other environmental hookworm infection. The drugs of choice are:

  • Mebendazole

This is the most effective drug against hookworms. The dose is 100 mg, twice a day, for three days regardless of the patients’ body weight. This regimen results in a 95 per cent rate of cure, and in a 99.9 per cent reduction in egg count.

  • Albendazole

This is given in a single dose of 400 mg for all ages over two years. It is also a very effective drug against hookworms.

  • Pyrantel

This is given in a single dose of 10 mg/kg of body weight for about three days (a maximum of 750 mg for adults).

Treatment of Anemia When anemia is severe, it should be treated. A cheap and effective treatment is ferrous sulphate 200 mg three times a day orally and which needs to be continued for three months after the hemoglobin has risen to 12 g/100 ml. Patients with severe hypoalbuinemia should be adequately and quickly de–wormed. If concomitant folic acid deficiency exists, it should be treated.

Health Education Community involvement through health education is an important aspect in the control of hookworm infection. Health education should be aimed at promoting the use of sanitary latrines, prevention of soil pollution, and measures of personal prophylaxis such as wearing of protective footwear and making use of health facilities for diagnosis and treatment. What is needed is an integrated approach incorporating the above principles of prevention and control. Such a program must be comprehensive and cover the fundamental aspects of sanitation and personal prophylaxis. Since the incidence of ancylostomisis reflects the quality of life of the people and its cultural habits, its reduction is directly dependent on improvement of economic and social conditions.