Soil-transmitted helminth infections affect the poorest and most deprived communities. They are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor.
The main species that infect people are the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and the hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).
Intestinal worms produce a wide range of symptoms including intestinal manifestations (diarrhoea, abdominal pain), general malaise and weakness. Hookworms cause chronic intestinal blood loss that result in anaemia.