Prevalence of soil transmitted nematodes on Nukufetau, a remote Pacific Island in Tuvalu

Speare, Rick, Latasi, Falatea Fab, Nelesone, Tekaai, Harmen, Sonia, Melrose, Wayne, Durrheim, David, and Heukelbach, Jorg (2006) Prevalence of soil transmitted nematodes on Nukufetau, a remote Pacific Island in Tuvalu. BMC Infectious Diseases, 6 (110). pp. 1-6.

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Background: The population of Nukufetau, a remote coral atoll island in Tuvalu in the Western Pacific, received annual mass drug administration (MDA) of diethylcarbamazine and albendazole under the Pacific Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis program in 2001, 2002 and 2003, with the last MDA occurring six months before a cross-sectional survey of the whole population for soil transmitted helminths (STH).

Methods: A cross-sectional survey in May 2004 recruited 206 residents (35.2% of the population) who provided a single faecal sample that was preserved, concentrated and examined microscopically.

Results: Overall prevalence of STH was 69.9%; only hookworm and Trichuris trichiura were diagnosed. Trichuris was present in 68.4% with intensity of infection being light in 56.3%, medium in 11.7% and heavy in 0.5%. Hookworm occurred in 11.7% with intensity of infection 11.2% being light and medium in 0.5%. Twenty individuals (9.7%) had dual infections. The prevalence of Trichuris was constant across all ages while the prevalence of hookworm was significantly lower in residents below 30 years of age. In the age group 5–12 years comparison of results with a 2001 survey [1] suggested that the prevalence of STH has declined minimally, due to sustained high prevalence of Trichuris, while hookworm has declined dramatically from 34.4% to 1.6%.

Conclusion: The results of this survey suggest that although the MDA appears to have reduced hookworm prevalence in residents below 30 years of age, there has been minimal effect on Trichuris prevalence. An integrated program to control STH is required.

Item ID: 3729
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2334
Keywords: nematodes; nukufetau; Tuvalu; lymphatic filariasis
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© 2006 Speare et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2009 03:15
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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