Among the common soil-transmitted helminth infections, hookworm causes the highest burden. Previous research in the southern part of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) revealed high prevalence rates of hookworm infection. The purpose of this study was to predict the spatial distribution of hookworm infection and intensity, and to investigate risk factors in the Champasack province, southern Lao PDR. A cross-sectional parasitological and questionnaire survey was conducted in 51 villages. Data on demography, socioeconomic status, water, sanitation, and behavior were combined with remotely sensed environmental data. Bayesian mixed effects logistic and negative binomial models were utilized to investigate risk factors and spatial distribution of hookworm infection and intensity, and to make predictions for non-surveyed locations. A total of 3,371 individuals were examined with duplicate Kato-Katz thick smears and revealed a hookworm prevalence of 48.8%. Most infections (91.7%) were of light intensity (1-1,999 eggs/g of stool). Lower hookworm infection levels were associated with higher socioeconomic status. The lowest infection levels were found in preschool-aged children. Overall, females were at lower risk of infection, but women aged 50 years and above harbored the heaviest hookworm infection intensities. Hookworm was widespread in Champasack province with little evidence for spatial clustering. Infection risk was somewhat lower in the lowlands, mostly along the western bank of the Mekong River, while infection intensity was homogeneous across the Champasack province. Hookworm transmission seems to occur within, rather than between villages in Champasack province. We present spatial risk maps of hookworm infection and intensity, which suggest that control efforts should be intensified in the Champasack province, particularly in mountainous areas.
Forrer, A., Vounatsou, P., Sayasone, S., Vonghachack, Y., Bouakhasith, D., Utzinger, J., … Odermatt, P. (2015). Risk Profiling of Hookworm Infection and Intensity in Southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic Using Bayesian Models. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003486