This Wormy World: Global Atlas of Helminth Infections

This Wormy World web site

A new web site – thiswormyworld.org – with maps showing the distribution and prevalence of worm infections in sub-Saharan Africa was launched on 17 August 2010.

These maps are the first of a series in the Global Atlas of Helminth Infections, an open-access information resource on the distribution of soil-transmitted helminths (roundworm, whipworm and hookworm) and schistosomiasis. Initial coverage is limited to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but similar maps for Asia, Latin America and the Middle East will be available by the end of 2010.

By proving reliable, up-to-date maps of worm distributions, “This Wormy World” aims to help policy-makers and programme managers develop and implement national deworming programmes.

Norman R. Stoll

Norman R. Stoll, author of "This Wormy World", J. Parasitology, 1947

The maps identify areas in a country that most urgently require mass treatment to control infection and predicts the risk of infection in areas where data is lacking. The Global Atlas of Helminth Infections has been produced by an international collaboration lead by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Partnership for Child Development at Imperial College London.

The web site invites users to contribute school- or community-level estimates from helminth survey data to be included in the country maps.

Background information on worms, especially on worms and school health, and a list of key reports and documents are also provided on “This Wormy World”, which takes it name from a 1947 article in the Journal of Parisitology by Norman R. Stoll.

This Wormy World is unique because it brings together all the available information in one standardised, geo-referenced database. “Our aim with the atlas is to provide up-to-date, reliable maps for those involved in practical control, especially in Africa where information is lacking,” said Dr [Simon] Brooker [from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK and KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya].

“Around one quarter of the Ugandan population is at risk of worm infections. The atlas shows in great detail the communities that are most and least affected. Therefore, targeting our deworming programmes accurately could make a dramatic difference to the health and education of adults and children in our country,” said Dr Narcis Kabatereine, head of Neglected Tropical Disease Control Programme, Ugandan Ministry of Health.

In the longer-term the goal is to produce a global atlas of all neglected tropical diseases, including lymphatic filariasis, river blindness (onchocerciasis) and trachoma (a Global Atlas of Trachoma is being developed in collaboration with the International Trachoma Initiative).

Source: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 17 Aug 2010

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