Effect of Repeated Anthelminthic Treatment on Malaria in School Children in Kenya: A Randomized, Open-Label, Equivalence Trial

Kepha S, Nuwaha F, Nikolay B, Gichuki P, Mwandawiro CS, Mwinzi PN, Odiere MR, Edwards T, Allen E, Brooker SJ
J Infect Dis. 2016;213

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BACKGROUND: School children living in the tropics are often concurrently infected with plasmodium and helminth parasites. It has been hypothesized that immune responses evoked by helminths may modify malaria-specific immune responses and increase the risk of malaria. METHODS: We performed a randomized, open-label, equivalence trial among 2436 school children in western Kenya. Eligible children were randomized to receive either 4 repeated doses or a single dose of albendazole and were followed up during 13 months to assess the incidence of clinical malaria. Secondary outcomes were Plasmodium prevalence and density, assessed by repeat cross-sectional surveys over 15 months. Analysis was conducted on an intention-to-treat basis with a prespecified equivalence range of 20%. RESULTS: During 13 months of follow-up, the incidence rate of malaria was 0.27 episodes/person-year in the repeated treatment group and 0.26 episodes/person-year in the annual treatment group (incidence difference, 0.01; 95% confidence interval, -.03 to .06). The prevalence and density of malaria parasitemia did not differ by treatment group at any of the cross-sectional surveys. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that repeated deworming does not alter risks of clinical malaria or malaria parasitemia among school children and that school-based deworming in Africa may have no adverse consequences for malaria. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01658774.