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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009 Feb;7(1):37-56. doi: 10.1586/14787210.7.1.37.

Prospects for the control of neglected tropical diseases by mass drug administration.

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  • 1KIT Biomedical Research, Royal Tropical Institute/Koninklijk Institute voor de Tropen (KIT), Meibergdreef 39, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The prospects for the control of neglected tropical diseases, including soil-transmitted helminthiasis, shistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and trachoma, through mass drug administration, are exemplified by the elimination of the trachoma as a public-health problem in Morocco. In spite of this and other striking successes, mass drug administration programs are faced with major challenges resulting from suboptimal coverage and lack of efficacy. At current suboptimal coverage rates, programs may need prolongation for an extended period, increasing costs and undermining sustainability. Community participation through health education and information appears to be crucial to improve coverage and to achieve sustainability. Implementation of complementary measures, such as vector control, improved hygiene and environmental sanitation, are important to further control transmission and to prevent re-emergence of the infection and, again, may only be achieved effectively through community-based initiatives. To reduce costs and to relieve pressure on the health system, combining neglected tropical disease programs in areas where diseases coexist and integration with existing control programs for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS is advocated. The risk of developing drug resistance is of particular concern in view of the lack of alternative drugs, and reduced treatment efficacy due to emerging resistance is evident for the soil-transmitted helminths and onchocerciasis. Given the risk for the development of drug resistance and the need for a high degree of participation, close attention should be paid to the monitoring of the coverage and efficacy of the different program components.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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