By University of Washington

For two billion people around the planet, anemia, weakness and malaise are part of daily life.

These symptoms are part of living with soil-transmitted helminths – more commonly known as intestinal worms – that inhabit victims’ bellies, sapping their nutrients and stunting their physical and cognitive development.

In countries where the disease is prevalent, soil-transmitted helminths have long been a public health problem and a human rights issue. And the UW School of Public Health’s DeWorm3 project is doing something about it.

In partnership with London’s Natural History Museum and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DeWorm3 is providing the platform for one of the largest implementation science projects in the field to date. Its core mission? To interrupt the transmission of intestinal worms.

Intestinal worms are all over the world, but in countries like Japan and the United States, public health officials have been able to control or even stop transmission of the disease. But  impoverished areas of Africa and Asia are still battling the cycle. Why haven’t we been able to eradicate this problem on a global scale yet?

Diagram of the transmission of three species of worms
Two billion people worldwide are at risk of soil-transmitted helminths, more commonly known as intestinal worms.
View image caption

The key culprits are limited access to clean water and sanitation resources – as well as the fact that only preschool- and school-age children receive treatment in current deworming programs, says Arianna Means, ’17, graduate of the world’s first Ph.D. program in metrics and implementation science and a DeWorm3 research scientist.


Kenny Sherr, Associate Professor of Global Health and Co-Director of the Metrics and Implementation Science Program, is also quoted in this story.

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