Back to search

Predisposition to soil-transmitted helminth reinfection after four rounds of mass drug administration: results from a longitudinal cohort in the Geshiyaro project, a transmission elimination feasibility study in the Wolaita zone of southern Ethiopia


Background: Current WHO strategies for reaching soil-transmitted helminths (STH) elimination as a public health problem excludes treating certain adult populations in endemic areas, creating infection reservoirs that drive ‘bounce back’ of STH infection to pretreatment levels post-mass drug administration (MDA). Predisposition is a widespread, but poorly understood phenomena among helminth infections where individuals are predisposed to reinfection after repeated treatments.

Methods: This analysis uses Geshiyaro project data, an STH control programme exploring transmission interruption by community-wide MDA and enhanced water, sanitation and hygiene during 2019–2023. Parasitological survey data from longitudinal cohorts are analysed using Kendall's Tau-b rank correlation to assess the evidence for predisposition to light or heavy infection between four consecutive rounds of MDA.

Results: Correlation analyses revealed the strongest evidence for predisposition to heavy or light Ascaris lumbricoides infection was between survey 1 and 2 (Tau-b 0.29; p<0.001). Overall patterns were not observed for Trichuris trichiura or hookworm infections, however, some significant and notable correlations were recorded for some stratifications and time points.

Conclusions: Evidence for predisposition in endemic settings in southern Ethiopia with low STH prevalence suggests that more targeted approaches to MDA in those predisposed to infection may be a sensible control strategy if cheap, point of care diagnostics are available.

More information

Journal Article
Rayment Gomez S
Maddren R
Liyew EF
Chernet M
Anjulo U
Tamiru A
Mengitsu B
Forbes K
Collyer B
Salasibew M
Anderson R