A strong effect of individual compliance with mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis on sustained clearance of soil-transmitted helminth infections

Parasit Vectors. 2021 Jun 8;14(1):310. doi: 10.1186/s13071-021-04814-2.


Background: The impact of semiannual mass drug administration (MDA) with albendazole (ALB; 400 mg) alone on lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections was assessed during two trials conducted from 2012 to 2018 in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The collected data were analyzed to evaluate the effect of compliance with ALB treatment on STH infections.

Methods: STH infections were diagnosed with duplicate Kato-Katz thick smears and the results are reported as eggs per gram of stool. All subjects with at least two STH infection assessments were included in the analyses. We used parametric survival models to assess the influence of compliance with ALB treatment on the probability of (i) achieving sustained clearance of an STH infection, and (ii) acquiring an STH infection during the follow-up.

Results: Out of 2658 subjects included in the trials, data on 202 participants (701 person-years; PY) with hookworm infection, 211 (651 PY) with Ascaris lumbricoides infection and 270 (1013 PY) with Trichuris trichiura infection were available to calculate the probability of achieving sustained clearance of infection. The effect of ALB was dose related for all three STH. For hookworm, the time required for sustained clearance was longer (4.3 years, P < 0.001) for participants who took zero doses per year and shorter (3.4 years, P = 0.112) for participants who took two doses per year compared to those who took one dose per year (3.7 years). For Ascaris, the time required to obtain sustained clearance followed the same pattern: 6.1 years (P < 0.001) and 3.2 years (P = 0.004) vs 3.6 years for, zero, two and one dose per year, respectively. For Trichuris, less time was required for sustained clearance (4.2 years, P < 0.001) for fully compliant participants, i.e. those who took two doses per year, than for those who only took one dose per year (5.0 years). ALB was more effective in achieving sustained clearance of STH infection in subjects with light baseline infection intensities compared to those with higher egg counts.

Conclusion: Our results illustrate the importance of MDA compliance at the level of the individual with respect to the STH benefit provided by semiannual ALB MDA, which is used for the elimination of LF in Central Africa.

Keywords: Albendazole; Mass drug administration; Parametric survival analysis; Soil-transmitted helminths; Treatment adherence.