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Clin Infect Dis. 2019 May 2;68(10):1665-1674. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy761.

The Impact of Intensive Versus Standard Anthelminthic Treatment on Allergy-related Outcomes, Helminth Infection Intensity, and Helminth-related Morbidity in Lake Victoria Fishing Communities, Uganda: Results From the LaVIISWA Cluster-randomized Trial.

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Immunomodulation and Vaccines Programme, Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit, Entebbe.
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
Department of Clinical Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.
Entebbe Hospital, Wakiso District Local Government, Uganda.
Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda.
Koome Health Centre III, Mukono District Local Government, Uganda.
Laboratory for Medical Microbiology and Immunology, St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Medical Research Council Tropical Epidemiology Group, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.
Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The prevalence of allergy-related diseases is increasing in low-income countries. Parasitic helminths, common in these settings, may be protective. We hypothesized that intensive, community-wide, anthelminthic mass drug administration (MDA) would increase allergy-related diseases, while reducing helminth-related morbidity.


In an open, cluster-randomized trial (ISRCTN47196031), we randomized 26 high-schistosomiasis-transmission fishing villages in Lake Victoria, Uganda, in a 1:1 ratio to receive community-wide intensive (quarterly single-dose praziquantel plus albendazole daily for 3 days) or standard (annual praziquantel plus 6 monthly single-dose albendazole) MDA. Primary outcomes were recent wheezing, skin prick test positivity (SPT), and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (asIgE) after 3 years of intervention. Secondary outcomes included helminths, haemoglobin, and hepatosplenomegaly.


The outcome survey comprised 3350 individuals. Intensive MDA had no effect on wheezing (risk ratio [RR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64-1.93), SPT (RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.85-1.42), or asIgE (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.82-1.12). Intensive MDA reduced Schistosoma mansoni infection intensity: the prevalence from Kato Katz examinations of single stool samples from each patient was 23% versus 39% (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.55-0.88), but the urine circulating cathodic antigen test remained positive in 85% participants in both trial arms. Hookworm prevalence was 8% versus 11% (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.31-1.00). There were no differences in anemia or hepatospenomegaly between trial arms.


Despite reductions in S. mansoni intensity and hookworm prevalence, intensive MDA had no effect on atopy, allergy-related diseases, or helminth-related pathology. This could be due to sustained low-intensity infections; thus, a causal link between helminths and allergy outcomes cannot be discounted. Intensive community-based MDA has a limited impact in high-schistosomiasis-transmission fishing communities, in the absence of other interventions.




Schistosoma mansoni ; Africa; allergy-related disease; helminths; mass drug administration

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