WHO ‘Collaboration Centre for the monitoring of anthelmintic drug efficacy for soil-transmitted helminthiasis’.

Since 2009, the laboratory for Veterinary Parasitology has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as the WHO ‘Collaboration Centre for the monitoring of anthelmintic drug efficacy for soil-transmitted helminthiasis’.

The laboratory will be responsible for the monitoring of the efficacy of anthelmintics in human patients. Worm infections occur frequently in humans, especially in tropical countries, and WHO estimates that wordwide some 1.2 billion people are infected.

The Soil Transmitted Helminths comprise roundworms, whip worms and hookworms which occur both in the small intestine and in the bowel. Transcutaneous infection may be due to contact with soil contaminated with stool containing infective eggs and larvae. The symptoms associated with Soil Transmitted Helminths are anemia, diarre, malnutrition and decreased intelectual performance.
Despite the worlwide occurence and high prevalence of infection, only two anthelmintics are available (Albendazole and Mebendazole). From 2010 onwards, the WHO will coordinate a large-scale treatment of school children in tropical countries. This initiative will also comprise a component to test the quality of the drugs used, and to evaluate the efficacy of treatment.

Tutorial McMaster egg counting method
Vercruysse J, Behnke JM, Albonico M, Ame SM, Angebault C, Bethony JM,  

Engels D, Guillard B, Hoa NTV, Kang G, Kattula D, Kotze AC, McCarthy  
JS, Mekonnen Z, Montresor A, Periago MV, Sumo L, Tchuem Tchuenté L-A,  
Thach DTC, Zeynudin A and Levecke B. Assessment of the anthelmintic  
efficacy of albendazole in school children in seven countries where  
soil-transmitted helminths are endemic, 2011. PloS Negl Trop Dis 5:  

Levecke B, Behnke JM, Ajjampur SSR, Albonico M, Ame SM, Charlier J,  
Geiger SM, Hoa NTV, Kamwa Ngassam RI, Kotze AC, McCarthy JS, Montresor  
A, Periago MV, Roy S, Tchuem Tchuenté L-A, Thach DTC, Vercruysse J. A  
Comparison of the Sensitivity and Fecal Egg Counts of the McMaster Egg  
Counting and Kato-Katz Thick Smear Methods for Soil-Transmitted  
Helminths, 2011. PLoS Neg Trop Dis 5: e1201.

Vercruysse J, Albonico M, Behnke J, Kotze A, Prichard R, McCarthy JS,  
Montresor A, Levecke B. Anthelmintic resistance a concern for the  
control of human soil-transmitted helminths? 2011. Int J Parasitol  
Drugs and Drug Resistance (in press).

Levecke B, Mekonnen Z, Albonico Z, Vercruysse J. The impact of  
baseline FEC on the efficacy of a single-dose albendazole against  
Trichuris trichiura, 2011. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg (in press).

Levecke B, Speybroeck N, Dobson R, Vercruysse J, Charlier J. Novel  
Insights in the Fecal Egg Count Reduction Test for Monitoring Drug  
Efficacy against Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Large-Scale Treatment  
Programs, 2011 PLoS Neg Trop Dis (in press).