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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001 Mar-Apr;95(2):195-201.

Albendazole therapy and reduced decline in haemoglobin concentration during pregnancy (Sierra Leone).

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  • 1WHO Collaborating Centre for Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.


WHO recommends that anthelmintic treatment be included in strategies to improve maternal nutrition in areas where hookworms are endemic and anaemia is prevalent. At present, few countries have adopted this recommendation, partly owing to the lack of data to support the adverse effects of hookworms on maternal health. A longitudinal study was conducted on 125 women in Sierra Leone (in 1995/96) to measure the impact of single-dose albendazole (400 mg) and daily iron-folate supplements (36 mg iron and 5 mg folate) on haemoglobin and serum ferritin concentration during pregnancy. Women who received both albendazole and iron-folate supplements experienced no significant change (P > 0.05) in the prevalence of anaemia and iron-deficiency anaemia between the first and third trimesters. These prevalence levels significantly increased (P < 0.05) in women who received either albendazole or iron-folate supplements or neither. After controlling for baseline haemoglobin concentration and season, the mean decline in haemoglobin concentration between the first and third trimester in women who received albendazole was 6.6 g/L less than in women who received the control (P = 0.0034). The corresponding value for iron-folate supplements was 13.7 g/L haemoglobin (P < 0.001). The effects of albendazole and iron-folate supplements were additive. These findings lend support to WHO's recommendation for anthelmintic treatment during pregnancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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