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Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis in the United States: A Systematic Review—1940–2010

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  • Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

The epidemiology of soil-transmitted helminth infections (hookworm, Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides, and Strongyloides stercoralis) in the United States is poorly understood. To gain understanding of the status of disease, a systematic review was performed to assess the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections in the United States. Of all studies reviewed, 14 were designated as high-quality. High-quality studies were published from 1942 to 1982 and showed that infection was prevalent throughout the southern United States and Appalachia as recently as 1982, finding that hookworm (19.6%), T. trichiura (55.2%), A. lumbricoides (49.4%), and S. stercoralis (3.8%) affected significant percentages of the population. However, because the most recent high-quality studies were published over 25 years ago, the literature does not provide sufficient data to assess current endemic transmission. Because the status of disease remains unclear, there is a need for additional studies to determine if soil-transmitted helminths remain endemic in the United States.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Michelle C. Starr, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop F22, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724. E-mail: kbz4@cdc.gov

Financial support: This work was made possible through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Experience Applied Epidemiology Fellowship, a public/private partnership supported by a grant to the CDC Foundation from External Medical Affairs, Pfizer, Inc.

Authors' addresses: Michelle C. Starr and Susan P. Montgomery, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: kbz4@cdc.gov and zqu6@cdc.gov.

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