A cross-sectional survey of soil-transmitted helminthiases in two Myanmar villages receiving mass drug administration: epidemiology of infection with a focus on adults

04 Aug 2017
Dunn JC, Bettis AA, Wyine NY, Lwin AMM, Lwin ST, Su KK, Sein MM, Tun A, Maung NS, Anderson RM

Background: Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are still highly prevalent in southeast Asia. The country of Myanmar has had ongoing mass drug administration (MDA) programmes since 2003 in an attempt to control STH and reduce STH-related morbidities. Whilst the MDA programmes have reported high nationwide coverage, there have been no epidemiological surveys that included measurements from adults. This paper details three cross-sectional surveys that took place over the course of a year in two villages endemic for STH and receiving MDA in lower Myanmar.

Results: At baseline, 27.81% of participants were infected with at least one type of STH. The most prevalent STH was Trichuris trichiura (18.12%) followed by hookworm (8.71%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (5.34%). Most infections were of low intensity, measured by eggs per gram of faeces (EPG). Gender stratification revealed that A. lumbricoides prevalence was significantly higher in females, whereas hookworm prevalence was significantly higher in males. The distribution of EPG in the study sample was highly overdispersed, suggesting that most people release few eggs whereas a few people release many eggs. Adults harbour a major proportion of the overall STH burden; 65.15% of STH infections were harboured by adults.

Conclusions: STH infection remains at medium prevalence in the study villages despite past and recent MDA. Recorded prevalence of STH in school-aged children has not substantially decreased since the last monitoring and evaluation activities in Myanmar in 2013. Analyses suggest that adults are a major contributor to the total STH prevalence and EPG burden, probably perpetuating transmission.