Commonly known as parasitic worms, soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections affect the poorest communities and are transmitted to humans by faecally-contaminated soil. The eggs, passed in faeces, can be ingested in different ways: when vegetables are not carefully cooked or washed, from contaminated water sources or by children who play in the contaminated soil, putting their hands in their mouths without washing them. Furthermore, hookworm eggs hatch in soil and can penetrate the skin of people walking barefoot on the contaminated soil.
Affecting more than 2 billion people worldwide, STH have a chronic, gradual but harmful impact on the health and quality of life of those infected. Through regular treatment of children in endemic areas, health and hygiene education and provision of adequate sanitation, STH infections can be eliminated.