Background: Anthelmintics are one of the more commonly available classes of drugs to treat infections by parasitic helminths (especially nematodes) in the human intestinal tract. As a result of their cost-effectiveness, mass school-based deworming programs are becoming routine practice in developing countries. However, experimental and clinical evidence suggests that anthelmintic treatments may increase susceptibility to other gastrointestinal infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or protozoa. Hypothesizing that anthelmintics may increase diarrheal infections in treated children, we aim to evaluate the impact of anthelmintics on the incidence of diarrheal disease caused by viral and bacterial pathogens in school children in southern Vietnam. Methods/design: This is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effects of albendazole treatment versus placebo on the incidence of viral- and bacterial-induced diarrhea in 350 helminth-infected and 350 helminth-uninfected Vietnamese school children aged 6-15 years. Four hundred milligrams of albendazole, or placebo treatment will be administered once every 3 months for 12 months. At the end of 12 months, all participants will receive albendazole treatment. The primary endpoint of this study is the incidence of diarrheal disease assessed by 12 months of weekly active and passive case surveillance. Secondary endpoints include the prevalence and intensities of helminth, viral, and bacterial infections, alterations in host immunity and the gut microbiota with helminth and pathogen clearance, changes in mean z scores of body weight indices over time, and the number and severity of adverse events. Discussion: In order to reduce helminth burdens, anthelmintics are being routinely administered to children in developing countries. However, the effects of anthelmintic treatment on susceptibility to other diseases, including diarrheal pathogens, remain unknown. It is important to monitor for unintended consequences of drug treatments in co-infected populations. In this trial, we will examine how anthelmintic treatment impacts host susceptibility to diarrheal infections, with the aim of informing deworming programs of any indirect effects of mass anthelmintic administrations on co-infecting enteric pathogens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Soil-transmitted helminths