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Intestinal geohelminthiasis and growth in pre-adolescent primary school children in Northeastern Peninsular Malaysia.

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


A cohort of one hundred 8-9 year old school children in Northeastern Peninsular Malaysia underwent stool examination, weight and height measurements. Seventy-three children were infected with Ascaris lumbricoides and/or Trichuris trichiura. All infected children were treated with albendazole at baseline, 6 months and 9 months. Measurements were repeated on all but 2 children at 1 year. Repeat stool examination (n = 94) at 1 year revealed a marked reduction in the level of Ascaris infection and a modest reduction in Trichuris infection. There was no difference in net growth between treated children and uninfected controls. Post-hoc analysis by gender however revealed that infected girls (n = 33) experienced significantly higher increments in weight, height and weight for age. Furthermore, children found to be infected at baseline level but worm free at follow-up, were observed to have experienced greater increments in height and height for age. The evidence suggests that periodic antihelminthic treatment may have a positive effect on the growth of subsets of pre-adolescent children but it is emphasised that further work is required to validate these findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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