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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2003 Jan-Feb;97(1):109-14.

Effects of multimicronutrient supplementation on helminth reinfection: a randomized, controlled trial in Kenyan schoolchildren.

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  • 1Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, Jaegersborg AllĂ© 1 D, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark.


A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, two-by-two factorial trial was carried out among 977 schoolchildren from 19 primary schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya from February 1995 to February 1996. The interventions were multimicronutrient supplementation (vitamin A, 1000 micrograms; vitamin B1, 1.4 mg; vitamin B2, 1.6 mg; vitamin B6, 1.7 mg; vitamin B12, 2.0 micrograms; folate, 150 micrograms; niacin, 16 mg; vitamin C, 50 mg; vitamin D, 5 micrograms; vitamin E, 8 mg; iron, 18 mg; zinc, 20 mg; copper, 2.0 mg; iodine, 150 micrograms; selenium, 40 micrograms) and multihelminth chemotherapy (albendazole 600 mg in a single dose and/or praziquantel 40 mg/kg in a single dose). This paper reports the effects of the supplementation given on all school days on reinfection with hookworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and Schistosoma mansoni after 11 months. Baseline prevalence and geometric mean intensity for hookworm, A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and S. mansoni in all children investigated were 54.7%, 13.8%, 45.6% and 70.0%, respectively and 8.6, 2.7, 5.9 and 19.4 eggs per gram (epg), respectively. Children received a mean of 2.3 multimicronutrient/placebo tablets per school week, giving a compliance rate of 46%. Children given multimicronutrients had a slightly, but significantly, lower intensity of S. mansoni reinfection compared with children given placebo (5.5 epg vs. 7.7 epg, P = 0.047). Multiple linear regression analyses controlling for baseline infection status confirmed this, as children who received micronutrients were reinfected with S. mansoni at only 69% of the intensity of those who received placebo. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that micronutrient supplementation was associated with a lower S. mansoni reinfection rate (odds ratio = 0.7) although this was only of borderline significance (P = 0.090). There were no significant differences in reinfection rates or intensities of hookworm, A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura. The effect on S. mansoni infection intensity is particularly interesting given the low compliance, suggesting that full micronutrient supplementation might have a role to play in S. mansoni control programmes.

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