Deworming Programs in Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Authors: Donald Bundy, Laura Appleby, Mark Bradley, Kevin Croke, T. Deirdre Hollingsworth, Rachel Pullan, Hugo C. Turner, Nilanthi de Silva


The current debate on deworming presents an interesting public health paradox. Self-treatment for intestinal worm infection is among the most common self-administered public health interventions, and the delivery of donated drugs through mass drug administration (MDA) programs for soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) exceeds 1 billion doses annually. The clinical literature (especially the older, historical, work),  shows significant impacts of intense STH infection on health, and a burgeoning economics literature shows the long-run consequences for development (see, for example, chapter 29 by Kremer and others in this volume). Yet the literature on clinical trials shows conflicting results, and the resulting controversy has been characterized as the “Worm Wars.”