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Routine Deworming of Children at Deployed Military Healthcare Facilities

Naumann, David N. MRCS*; Lundy, Jonathan MD; Burns, Daniel S. MRCP*; Bailey, Mark S. MD*; Bowley, Douglas M. FRCS

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: September 2013 - Volume 32 - Issue 9 - p 931–932
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31829e4551
Opinion & Analysis

The World Health Organization advocates mass antihelminthic treatment of school-age children in areas of high prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths. Soil-transmitted helminths prevalence in Afghanistan is 20–50%, but a high proportion of children do not attend school, so may be missed by deworming programs. The primary function of military medical assets in a theater of war is to provide life, limb and eyesight saving treatment. Additional humanitarian aid in the form of nonemergency treatment has also been provided in Afghanistan for thousands of civilian children. Children represent 3–15% of the patients treated at deployed military medical facilities. We report on recent experience of deployed surgical teams in southern Afghanistan who have noticed high levels of soil-transmitted helminths in war-injured patients. Military medical assets may provide an opportunity to integrate a policy of deworming of children into existing programs of humanitarian support. This would not be a substitute for mass deworming programs, but a supplementation.

From the *Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham; and Department of Surgery, Role 3 Hospital, Camp Bastion, Joint Medical Group, Afghanistan.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (www.pidj.com).

Address for correspondence: David N. Naumann, MRCS, Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, B15 2SQ. E-mail: david.naumann@cantab.net.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.