Background: Strongyloides seroprevalence is hyper-endemic in many Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, ranging from 35–60%. We report the impact on Strongyloides seroprevalence after two oral ivermectin mass drug administrations (MDAs) delivered 12 months apart in a remote Australian Aboriginal community.
Methods: Utilizing a before and after study design, we measured Strongyloides seroprevalence through population census with sequential MDAs at baseline and month 12. Surveys at months 6 and 18 determined changes in serostatus. Serodiagnosis was undertaken by ELISA that used sonicated Strongyloides ratti antigen to detect anti-Strongyloides IgG. Non-pregnant participants weighing ≥15 kg were administered a single 200 μg/kg ivermectin dose, repeated after 10–42 days if Strongyloides and/or scabies was diagnosed; others followed a standard alternative algorithm. A questionnaire on clinical symptoms was administered to identify adverse events from treatment and self-reported symptoms associated with serostatus.
Findings: We surveyed 1013 participants at the baseline population census and 1060 (n = 700 from baseline cohort and 360 new entrants) at month 12. Strongyloides seroprevalence fell from 21% (175/818) at baseline to 5% at month 6. For participants from the baseline cohort this reduction was sustained at month 12 (34/618, 6%), falling to 2% at month 18 after the second MDA. For new entrants to the cohort at month 12, seroprevalence reduced from 25% (75/297) to 7% at month 18. Strongyloides positive seroconversions for the baseline cohort six months after each MDA were 2.5% (4/157) at month 6 and 1% at month 18, whilst failure to serorevert remained unchanged at 18%. At 12 months, eosinophilia was identified in 59% of baseline seropositive participants and 89% of seropositive new entrants, compared with 47%baseline seronegative participants and 51% seronegative new entrants. Seropositivity was not correlated with haemoglobin or any self-reported clinical symptoms. Clinical symptoms ascertained on the day of treatment and 24–72 hrs after, did not identify any adverse events.
Significance: Two community ivermectin MDAs delivered 12 months apart by trained Aboriginal researchers in collaboration with non-Indigenous researchers resulted in a sustained and significant reduction in Strongyloides seroprevalence over 18 months. Similar reductions were seen in the baseline cohort and new entrants.