Background: In many rural areas of tropical countries such as Indonesia, the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infections remains high. At the same time, the burden of allergic disorders in such rural areas is reported to be low and inversely associated with helminth infections. To reduce the morbidity and transmission of helminth infections, the world health organization recommends preventive treatment of school children by providing mass drug administration (MDA) with albendazole. Here, we had an opportunity to evaluate the prevalence of skin reactivity to allergens before and after albendazole treatment to get an indication of the possible impact of MDA on allergic sensitization. Methods: A study was conducted among 150 school children living in an area endemic for STH infections. Before and 1 year after anthelminthic treatment with albendazole, stool samples were examined for the presence of STH eggs, skin prick tests (SPT) for cockroach and house dust mites were performed, blood eosinophilia was assessed, and total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured in plasma. Results: Anthelminthic treatment significantly reduced the prevalence of STH from 19.6 before treatment to 6% after treatment (p < 0.001). Levels of total IgE (estimate: 0.30; 95% CI 0.22-0.42, p < 0.0001), CRP (estimate: 0.60; 95% CI 0.42-0.86, p = 0.006), and eosinophil counts (estimate: 0.70; 95% CI 0.61-0.80, p < 0.001) decreased significantly. The prevalence of SPT positivity increased from 18.7 to 32.7%. Multivariate analysis adjusted for confounding factors showed an increased risk of being SPT positive to any allergen (OR 3.04; 95% CI 1.338-6.919, p = 0.008). Conclusions: This study indicates that 1 year of MDA with albendazole was associated with a reduced prevalence of STH infections. This study shows that the prevalence of allergic sensitization increases after 1 year of albendazole treatment. Placebo-controlled and larger studies are needed to further substantiate a role of deworming treatment in an increased risk of allergic sensitization.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||International Archives of Allergy and Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2018|
- Mass drug administration
- Skin prick test
- Soil-transmitted helminths