Helminth lifespan interacts with non-compliance in reducing the effectiveness of anthelmintic treatment

31 Jan 2018
Farrell SH, Anderson RM

Background: The success of mass drug administration programmes targeting the soil-transmitted helminths and schistosome parasites is in part dependent on compliance to treatment at sequential rounds of mass drug administration (MDA). The impact of MDA is vulnerable to systematic non-compliance, defined as a portion of the eligible population remaining untreated over successive treatment rounds. The impact of systematic non-compliance on helminth transmission dynamics - and thereby on the number of treatment rounds required to interrupt transmission - is dependent on the parasitic helminth being targeted by MDA.

Results: Here, we investigate the impact of adult parasite lifespan in the human host and other factors that determine the magnitude of the basic reproductive number R 0 , on the number of additional treatment rounds required in a target population, using mathematical models of Ascaris lumbricoides and Schistosoma mansoni transmission incorporating systematic non-compliance. Our analysis indicates a strong interaction between helminth lifespan and the impact of systematic non-compliance on parasite elimination, and confirms differences in its impact between Ascaris and the schistosome parasites in a streamlined model structure.

Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that achieving reductions in the level of systematic non-compliance may be of particular benefit in mass drug administration programmes treating the longer-lived helminth parasites, and highlights the need for improved data collection in understanding the impact of compliance.