High Endemicity of Soil-Transmitted Helminths in a Population Frequently Exposed to Albendazole but No Evidence of Antiparasitic Resistance
Rueda, Maria Mercedes
Gabrie, Jose A
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Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are gastrointestinal parasites widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Mass drug administration (MDA) of benzimidazoles (BZ) is the most recommended for STH control. These drugs have demonstrated limited efficacy against Trichuris trichiura and the long-term use of single-dose BZ has raised concerns of the possible emergence of genetic resistance. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether genetic mutations associated with BZ resistance were present in STH species circulating in an endemic region of Honduras. Methods: A parasitological survey was performed as part of this study, the Kato–Katz technique was used to determine STH prevalence in children of La Hicaca, Honduras. A subgroup of children received anthelminthic treatment in order to recover adult parasite specimens that were analyzed through molecular biology techniques. Genetic regions containing codons 200, 198, and 167 of the β-tubulin gene of Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were amplified and sequenced. Results: Stool samples were collected from 106 children. The overall STH prevalence was 75.47%, whereby T. trichiura was the most prevalent helminth (56.6%), followed by A. lumbricoides (17%), and hookworms (1.9%). Eighty-five sequences were generated for adjacent regions to codons 167, 198, and 200 of the β-tubulin gene of T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides specimens. The three codons of interest were found to be monomorphic in all the specimens. Conclusion: Although the inability to find single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the small sample analyzed for the present report does not exclude the possibility of their occurrence, these results suggest that, at present, Honduras’s challenges in STH control may not be related to drug resistance but to environmental conditions and/or host factors permitting reinfections.