Document Type: Original Article
Departamento de Medicina Preventiva, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Lab. de Avaliação e Promoção da Saúde Ambiental, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Introduction: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), helminth control could contribute to achieving 7 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The present study evaluated the impact of deworming on the infection rate of schistosomiasis in Sumidouro, Brazil and the consequences for the MDGs.
Methods: The whole population of this area was invited to participate in the 2 stages of the study, the baseline from 2002 to 2003 and the follow-up from 2005 to 2006. Within this interval, no improvements to sanitation or access to safe water were undertaken. The statistical investigation was confined to the 164 people who were tested in both surveys. The diagnosis of parasitosis was based on coproscopy by Kato-Katz smears. Infected people were treated with a single oral dose of praziquantel.
Results: The infection rate of schistosomiasis dropped from 28.7% (n=47) to 6.7% (n=11). Among women of childbearing age, this rate decreased was from 27.8% (n=10) to 5.6% (n=2), and among children, it dropped from 14.6% (n=6) to 3.3% (n=1).
Conclusion: As there was no improvement in sanitation, deworming might have led to the reduced transmission of schistosomiasis. The drop in infection rate of schistosomiasis in children and women of childbearing age supports the argument that deworming would allow for the reduction of child mortality and the promotion of gender equality. A better future can also be foreseen, as no girl under 15 years of age was infected.