Odds, challenges and new approaches in the control of helminthiasis, an Asian study.
The time is passing, and the worms are still a major struggle for local people in Asian countries, especially the less empowered and in a situation of social vulnerability. We are working in the field in Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines where the usual control programs based only on human treatment are partially effective. Areas with mass drug administration could diminish, but not eliminate STHs of endemic areas. The persistence of helminthic NTDs in the environment and animal hosts makes the eradication a very difficult task. Great changes in the landscapes of endemic areas, such as construction of dams, can change the fauna and the lifestyle of local people. Those changes can improve infrastructure, but it can also lead to social vulnerability. The challenge, then, is to conceive new and directed control programs for helminthiasis based on multi- and transdisciplinary approaches diminishing the health gap in a globalized world. In this short review, we summarize the actual scenario concerning the main helminths in Southeast Asia and how an environmental DNA approach and the use of GIS could contribute to surveillance and control programs.