Efficacy of albendazole against the whipworm trichuris trichiura--a randomised, controlled trial.
Medical Research Council, Cape Town.
OBJECTIVES AND DESIGN:
To test the efficacy of albendazole against the whipworm Trichuris trichiura for school-based deworming in the south-western Cape, South Africa. Children infected with Trichuris were randomised to 3 doses of albendazole (400, 800 or 1200 mg), each repeated 4 times. The boy/girl ratio was 1. A group not infected with worms was treated with placebo, creating a negative control.
SUBJECTS AND SETTING:
Pupils at a primary school serving a wine-producing area approximately 90 km east of Cape Town.
Trichuris cure rates and reduction in the number of eggs/g in faeces, as well as the infection dynamics of Trichuris and Ascaris during treatment with placebo.
Albendazole treatment was associated with Trichuris cure rates of 23% (400 mg), 56% (800 mg) and 67% (1200 mg) after the final treatment. The corresponding reductions in the number of eggs/g of faeces were 96.8%, 99.3% and 99.7%. Environmental pollution by human faeces was confirmed because worm egg-negative children in the placebo group became egg-positive while the study was in progress.
The 400 mg stat dose had a low Trichuris cure rate. To repeat the dose on 2 or 3 days would increase cost, reduce compliance and complicate management. Albendazole cannot be used in deworming programmes in South Africa because it is a Schedule 4 prescription medicine. De-scheduling is needed urgently, particularly because of high efficacy against hookworm in KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring countries.