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Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Jul;19(7):812-24. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12321. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

Soil-transmitted helminths in southern highland Rwanda: associated factors and effectiveness of school-based preventive chemotherapy.

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Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



Preventive chemotherapy of schoolchildren against soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) is widely implemented in Rwanda. However, data on its actual efficacy are lacking. We assessed prevalence, associated factors and manifestation of STH infection among schoolchildren in southern highland Rwanda as well as cure and reinfection rates.


Six hundred and twenty-two children (rural, 301; urban, 321) were included preceding the administration of a single dose of 500 mg mebendazole. Before treatment, and after 2 and 15 weeks, STH infection was determined by Kato-Katz smears and by PCR assays for Ascaris lumbricoides. Clinical and anthropometric data, socio-economic status and factors potentially associated with STH infection were assessed.


Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection was present in 38% of rural and in 13% of urban schoolchildren. Ascaris lumbricoides accounted for 96% of infections. Of these, one-third was detected by PCR exclusively. Factors associated with STH infection differed greatly between rural and urban children. Likewise, STH infection was associated with stunting and anaemia only among urban children. The cure rate after 2 weeks was 92%. Among eight non-cleared A. lumbricoides infections, seven were submicroscopic. Reinfection within 3 months occurred in 7%, but the rate was higher among rural children, and with initially present infection, particularly at comparatively high intensity.


The rural-urban difference in factors associated with STH infection and in reinfection rates highlights the need for targeted interventions to reduce transmission. PCR assays may help in detecting low-level infections persisting after treatment. In southern Rwanda, mebendazole is highly effective against the STH infections predominated by A. lumbricoides.


Ascaris; Rwanda; Soil-transmitted helminths; antibiotique; antibióticos; automedicación; automédication; cure rate; estudiantes universitarios; mebendazole; méthode de pratique des attitudes-connaissance; método de conocimientos-actitudes-prácticas; reinfection; uso racional de medicamentos; utilisation rationnelle des médicaments; étudiants universitaires

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