Trichuriasis and other soil-transmitted helminth (SHT) diseases
It is estimated that 1.5 billion people, mainly in the tropics and subtropics, are infected with intestinal helminths. Soil-transmitted helminths include several helminth species, e.g. the human whipworm Trichuris trichiura causing trichuriasis, hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus), the giant worm Ascaris lumbricuides causing ascariasis, and the threadworm Strongyloides stercoralis causing strongyloidiasis.
Infection with soil-transmitted helminths occurs either by oral ingestion of helminth eggs with contaminated food or water (Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris) or by contact with contaminated soil containing infective L3 larvae that penetrate human skin (hookworms, Strongyloides stercoralis). These infections can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, malnutrition, delayed development and growth stunting. T. trichiura and hookworm infections may further cause iron-deficiency anemia.
While single-dose albendazole is very effective in treating Ascaris infections, current single-dose treatments are less effective for hookworms and have poor efficacy against T. trichiura. Oxfendazole has the potential of a pan-nematode drug which could be used to treat both filarial and soil-transmitted helminths.