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Ascariasis, trichuriasis, and growth of schoolchildren in Northeastern Peninsular Malaysia.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, University Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.


A study to determine the effect of antihelminthic treatment on growth and nutritional status was undertaken on 103 children in the second grade of primary school, 71 of whom were found to be infected with Ascaris lumbricoides or Trichuris trichiura. The median Ascaris and Trichuris intensities in the infected group were 19,600 (range; 0-488,000) and 2,800 (range; 0-84,600) eggs per gram of feces respectively. Forty-three children harbored both types of worm. Fourteen weeks after two 400 mg doses of albendazole were administered to infected children, the increases in weight, height, weight for age, height for age and weight for height were significantly higher among infected children than controls who were uninfected at baseline. The observed gains were independent of sex and socioeconomic status. Decrease in log transformed Trichuris intensity correlated with increases in weight (r=0.24; p=0.02) and weight for age (r=0.20; p=0.06) but decrease in Ascaris intensity did not correlate with increases in any of the anthropometric parameters. The results suggest that antihelminthic treatment has beneficial short-term effects on growth and nutritional status of a modest magnitude among early primary schoolchildren in the area.

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