September 18, 2008
Sub-Saharan Women at Risk of Anemia
British and U.S. scientists say nearly 7 million pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with hookworms and, therefore, are at risk of anemia.
Hookworms are parasitic worms that live in the intestine and can cause a lower than normal number of red blood cells.
"Most of the studies showed hookworm was associated with maternal anemia, and that there are clear benefits of de-worming for both maternal and child health" said Simon Brooker of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "In many developing countries it is policy that pregnant women receive de-worming treatment, but in practice coverage rates are often unacceptably low."
The study by Brooker, Peter Hotez of George Washington University and Donald Bundy of The World Bank, appears in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.