Helminths and allergic disease in Vietnam

Research carried out by Carsten Flohr as part of a doctoral thesis at the University of Nottingham was designed to determine whether reduced exposure to helminth infection is associated with a higher risk of allergen skin sensitisation and allergic disease, and whether such an association could be explained by a helminth-induced up-regulation of certain cytokines, in particular anti-inflammatory IL-10.

The baseline study suggested that hookworm and Ascaris infection, sanitation and water supply independently reduce the risk of allergic sensitisation. The intervention study confirmed that helminth infection and allergic sensitisation are inversely related and that the effect of Ascaris and hookworm infections on skin prick test responses is additive. However, we found little evidence to suggest that this effect was mediated by IL-10. There was also insufficient evidence to suggest that loss of exposure to gut worms for 12 months results in an increase in clinical allergic disease. The effect of more prolonged de-worming warrants further research.

Flohr, Carsten (2007) Helminths and allergic disease in Vietnam. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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First Published in 2007


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