Failure of Thiabendazole and Metronidazole in the Treatment and Suppression of Guinea Worm Disease

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  • School of Public Health, University of California, Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School, Los Angeles, California 90024, Ghana

Guinea worm disease is endemic in West Africa. In 1973 a field drug trial was conducted to compare effectiveness, cost, and side-effects of thiabendazole and metronidazole in treating active guinea worm disease and preventing latent worms from emerging. A mass chemotherapy campaign was planned to follow the drug trial. Only 15.5% of the treated patients expelled the worm completely, and in 28.4% of the cases worms continued to appear. Both drugs were equally unsatisfactory in their anti-helminthic effect. Consequently, our efforts to control guinea worm have shifted from chemotherapy to chemical control of cyclops and improvement of rural water supplies.

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