Tackle Parasites to Temper Poverty

Treating women farmers of child-bearing age for hookworm in the Democratic Republic of Congo may significantly ease hardship, says a new study.

The intestinal parasite—acquired through contaminated soil and infecting some 500,000 people worldwide every year—causes anemia, a burdensome condition which compromises the stamina of women who feed their families through demanding physical labor. The study found that albendazole, the cheap and ready hookworm treatment already a standard for school-age children, reduced infection and improved the physical capacity of women in the DRC who bear the burdens of family farming.

This study “reinforces the removal of hookworms from the human intestine as a potent antipoverty measure,” says ASTMH president Peter Hotez.

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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