Exposure to worm infection in the womb cuts eczema risk

Last Updated: Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 00:00

Washington: A new study has suggested that exposure to worm infections in the womb may protect a newborn infant from developing eczema.

The research supports the so-called ``hygiene hypothesis``, which proposes that exposure to infections in early childhood can modify the immune system and protect the child from allergies later in life.

A preliminary study carried out at the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS in Entebbe, Uganda, in 2005 showed a reduced risk of eczema among infants whose mothers had worms and suggested an increased incidence among infants of mothers who received albendazole-a commonly used drug to treat worm infection-during pregnancy compared to infants whose mothers received a placebo.

In a follow-up study, researchers carried out a randomised, double-blind trial on 2,507 pregnant women in Uganda, comparing those treated with either albendazole or a second drug, praziquantel, against those administered a placebo, and looking at how this affected their offspring``s risk of developing eczema.

Harriet Mpairwe, first author of the new study, said, "Worm infections can adversely affect a person``s health, but the evidence also suggests that exposure to infection early in a child``s life can have a beneficial effect in terms of modifying its immune system and protecting against allergies. We wanted to examine in a large cohort what effect de-worming women during pregnancy has on their offspring."

The findings have been published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.


Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.

First Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 00:00

More from zeenews

comments powered by Disqus