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Intestinal worms (soil-transmitted helminths)


What are Intestinal worms?

Intestinal worms (also known as soil-transmitted helminths) are a group of intestinal parasites that affect people mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and South-East Asia. They thrive in places where the soil is warm and humid but sanitation is poor.

The most common parasites are roundworm, whipworm and hookworm. People become infected with intestinal worms after they come into contact with soil contaminated with the parasites’ eggs.

Intestinal worms reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins. This exacerbates malnutrition and leads to anaemia, increased susceptibility to other infectious diseases, stunted growth and impaired intellectual development. Symptoms of intestinal worms become more evident as the number of worms, or size of the worms, in a person increases.

Intestinal worms are a poverty-related disease, linked to broader community development challenges, which severely limit the ability of those infected to live full and productive lives.

WHO road map target:

Elimination as a public health problem by 2030

Key stats

  • 1.5 billion people* or around a quarter of the worlds population

    are infected with Intestinal worms worldwide

  • 80% of children

    at risk live in South-East Asia and Africa

Mass drug administration status for school-age children for intestinal worms

People receiving preventive chemotherapy for intestinal worms

Since the London Declaration was signed in 2012 and partners committed to defeating neglected tropical diseases, the number of people receiving preventive chemotherapy for intestinal worms has increased.

Coalition partners

Children Without Worms

Children Without Worms (CWW) is a program of the Task Force for Global Health, that aims to accomplish the vision of a world free of intestinal worms, so that communities may thrive and develop to their full potential.

CWW logo, a program of the Taskforce of Global Health


Children Without Worms