Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH) Report

#GS3 #Science #Diseases

14 States have reported reduction in prevalence of parasitic intestinal worm infection also known as Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH).

  • 9 States, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have shown substantial reduction in worm prevalence in the STH.



  • In India, there were an estimated 64% children in the age group (1-14 years) at risk of STH as per WHO Report on STH published in 2012.
  • The risk was estimated based on the hygiene and sanitation practices and limited STH prevalence data.
  • To assess the exact burden of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases in India, the government appointed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the nodal agency to coordinate and conduct nationwide baseline STH mapping.
  • NCDC completed the baseline STH mapping across the country by the end of 2016.
  • The data showed varied prevalence ranging from 12.5 per cent in Madhya Pradesh to 85 per cent in Tamil Nadu.


Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH)

  • Soil-transmitted helminth infections are caused by different species of parasitic worms.
  • They are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces, which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor.
  • Infected children are nutritionally and physically impaired. These are known to have detrimental effects on children’s physical growth and well being and can cause anemia and under-nutrition.
  • Approximately 1.5 billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths worldwide.
  • Control is based on periodical deworming to eliminate infecting worms, health education to prevent re-infection, and improved sanitation to reduce soil contamination with infective eggs.
  • Safe and effective medicines are available to control infection.


Global distribution and prevalence

  • 24% of the world’s population, are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections worldwide.
  • Infections are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas, with the greatest numbers occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and East Asia.
  • Over 267 million preschool-age children and over 568 million school-age children live in areas where these parasites are intensively transmitted, and are in need of treatment and preventive interventions.


Global target

  • There are six 2030 global targets for soil-transmitted helminthiases:
  • Achieve and maintain elimination of STH morbidity in pre-school and school age children.
  • Reduce the number of tablets needed in preventive chemotherapy for STH.
  • Increase domestic financial support to preventive chemotherapy for STH.
  • Establish an efficient STH control programme in adolescent, pregnant and lactating women.
  • Establish an efficient strongyloidiasis control programme in school age children.
  • Ensure universal access to at least basic sanitation and hygiene by 2030 in STH-endemic areas.
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