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Decreasing prevalence of Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) in the Northern Territory from 2002 to 2012

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Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) is a soil-transmitted helminth (STH) endemic to areas with a tropical climate. Infection occurs after the soil-residing egg of T. trichiura is ingested.1 Eggs are expelled in the faeces of infected hosts and continue this cycle after a period of maturation in the soil.1 An estimated 600–800 million people are infected with T. trichiura worldwide and this infection is estimated to cause the loss of 1.6–6.4 million disability-adjusted life-years.1,2 T. trichiura is the most prevalent helminth in many countries surveyed.35 Heavy infections (> 10 000 eggs per gram of faeces) are associated with anaemia, malnutrition, the trichuris dysentery syndrome and rectal prolapse.68

The Northern Territory has a population of about 232 000 in a geographic area of 1 200 000 km