Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Preliminary studies indicated that single-dose (500 mg) mebendazole gave disappointing results in the treatment of hookworm infections () in Mali. A placebo-controlled, randomized trial conducted with the participation of 103 infected subjects (background hookworm prevalence > 50%) confirmed that mebendazole (Vermox®) did not reduce parasite burdens significantly, as assessed through fecal egg counts. In contrast, a group of subjects treated with pyrantel (Combantrin®) experienced a significant reduction in fecal worm egg counts (overall, both sexes combined showed a 75% reduction). Male subjects carried significantly more intense infections compared with females, but there was no gender difference in response to treatment. A standard egg hatch assay showed that from our subjects in Mali was more resistant to benzimidazoles compared with a laboratory-maintained strain that had not been exposed to anthelmintics in more than 100 generations (50% effective dose = 0.12 and 0.07 µg/ml of thiabendazole, respectively), suggesting that, among other possibilities, the development of resistance to the benzimidazoles by may have contributed to the drug failure. Whatever the underlying explanation, our results indicate that single-dose treatment with mebendazole is an ineffective treatment for hookworm infections and despite its relatively cheap cost and wide availability, mebendazole should not be considered a drug of choice in the mass treatment of hookworm infections in this region of Mali.


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