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Epidemiology and the effect of treatment of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in pregnant women in southern Thailand.

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Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.


This study aimed to assess the current situation of STH in pregnant women, explore factors associated with STH and evaluate the effects of its treatment. A cohort study was conducted in four southernmost provinces. All pregnant women who presented at their first prenatal care visit at participating hospitals were interviewed by trained health care providers and their stool specimens were examined for Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm eggs. Women with STH were treated with 400 mg of albendazole after 14 weeks of gestation and treatment outcomes were evaluated three weeks after treatment. Of 1,063 pregnant women, STH were detected in 190 patients (17.9%) without seasonal variation for a combined infection of 21.6%. Ascaris, hookworm and Trichuris were detected in 10.3, 5.7 and 6.3%, respectively. The cure rate with a single dose was 92% but was 100% when repeated treatment was given as a three-day course. The risk of infection was higher in Muslim women, those with a family income < or = USD300/month, those bathing outside the house and those with no knowledge of STH. These results showed that southern Thailand is still an endemic area for STH and there appears to be no seasonal variation in incidence. Although the cure rate for treatment with albendazole was good, the low cure rate and egg reduction rate for trichuriasis needs to be considered.

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