Although drugs are now available to eradicate infections, unless the home environment changes, most individuals will soon become reinfected. The transmission of all the parasites discussed occurs most commonly through close contact between the

Table 3 Drugs of choice for parasitic infections




Mebendazole, albendazole, pyrantel



Mebendazole, albendazole



Praziquantel, metrifonate, niridazole,



Mebendazole, albendazole


Thiobendazole, ivermectin


Metronidazole, tinidazole,

secnidazole, furazolidone,



Nitazoxanide, spiramycin,



Metronidazole, secnidazole,

paromomycin, nitazoxanide

host and infected human feces, either orally or by skin penetration. The basic requirement for prevention is an efficient and hygienic mode of disposal of feces, improved facilities in the home, for example clean running water, concrete floor to the home, plus a knowledge of basic hygiene. Use of footwear and avoidance of contact with water likely to contain schistosome cercaria would help. For the foreseeable future, however, such control measures are quite unrealistic in most developing countries and the alternative may be the large-scale, nation-wide use of anthelmintics to regularly deworm all individuals in endemic areas. School-based regular treatment programmes can be effective. Safe, effective, and relatively cheap drugs are now available and their use in this way could substantially reduce the level of helminth disease throughout the developing world. Such programs can be expected to result in a marked reduction in the prevalence and severity of iron deficiency anemia but in most situations, to have a relatively small impact on child growth, stunting, and incidence of protein-energy malnutrition.

See also: Anemia: Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Cytokines. Diarrheal Diseases. Infection: Nutritional Interactions. Iron. Zinc: Physiology.

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