Prevalence of Soil-Transmitted Helminths at Baseline and after Albendazole Treatment in the School-Age Children of Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals in Bangladesh

Zannatun Noor Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Biplob Hossain Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Shaila Sharmeen Khan Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Mamun Kabir Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Abu Toha Md Rezuanul Haque Bhuiyan Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh;

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Mohammad Shafiul Alam Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Abu Syed Golam Faruque Nutrition and Clinical Service Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Rashidul Haque Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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ABSTRACT.

The forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (FDMNs) known as Rohingya refugees are the largest group of stateless individuals globally. According to the emergencies humanitarian actors at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the worldwide refugee crisis involving FDMNs is intensifying at the fastest rate in history. Growing public health demands are being exacerbated by current difficulties in addressing poor access to health services, severe food shortages, and a lack of adequate housing. Infectious diseases constitute a major public health emergency in this vulnerable population. A study was carried out in FDMN children to investigate common soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection at the time of enrollment and prospectively followed-up to 12 months after 2 doses albendazole treatment. At baseline, the prevalence of STH infection with at least one species was found to be 91.7% and 87.3% for Kato–Katz (KK) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods, respectively. Similarly, for follow-up children, the overall infection rate was 95.3% and 91.5%, respectively. Trichuris trichiura was the most predominant STH infection by both KK (baseline 87%, follow-up 89.1%) and qPCR (baseline 77.5%, follow-up 82.9%). The overall prevalence of stunting in the children was 37.8% at baseline and rose to 51.3% at 12 months. Alpha-1 antitrypsin (r = 0.13, P = 0.01) and myeloperoxidase (r = 0.12, P = 0.01) levels showed a positive correlation with Aascaris lumbricoides egg count per gram at baseline. An in-depth investigation is urgently needed to identify the underlying protective measures and the root cause of STH infections to improve the health of FDMN children.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Zannatun Noor, Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, 68 Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sarani, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh. E-mail: zannatun@icddrb.org

Financial support: The study was supported by grants IsDB-STI Transform Fund. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis or decision to submit for publication.

Disclosure: The study was approved by the Ethical and Research Review Committees of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). Informed written consent was obtained from the parents or guardians for the participation of their child in the study.

Authors’ addresses: Zannatun Noor, Biplob Hossain, Shaila Sharmeen Khan, Mamun Kabir, Mohammad Shafiul Alam, and Rashidul Haque, Infectious Diseases Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mails: zannatun@icddrb.org, bhossain@icddrb.org, s.khan.reepa@gmail.com, mamunk@icddrb.org, shafiul@icddrb.org, and rhaque@icddrb.org. Abu Toha Md Rezuanul Haque Bhuiyan, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, E-mail: dr.tohabhuiyan@gmail.com. Abu Syed Golam Faruque, Nutrition and Clinical Service Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mail: gfaruque@icddrb.org.

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