Soil transmitted helminths (STHs) are parasites that live in soil. Infection is caused by the ingestion of the parasitic eggs from four main species of roundworm, whipworm and hookworm (Tchuenté 2011). Infected individuals excrete parasite eggs in their faeces. In areas where open defecation occurs, pit latrines overflow and children’s faeces is disposed, the soil and water become contaminated with faeces containing worm eggs. It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people are infected with STHs worldwide, with the greatest number of infections in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO 2019d). Heavy infestations can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain, malnutrition, general malaise and weakness, as well as impaired growth and physical development in children (WHO 2019d).
From collection: Sanitation and Wastewater Atlas of Africa - Human Health