KEY FACTS: ONCHOCERCIASIS

 

Onchocerciasis

  • Onchocerciasis or “river blindness is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus.

  • Symptoms include severe itching, disfiguring skin conditions and visual impairment, including permanent blindness.

  • People become infected through the bites of infected blackflies (Simulium spp.).

  • More than 99% of infected people infected live in sub-Saharan Africa; the disease also exists in some foci in Latin America and Yemen.

  • Community-directed treatment with ivermectin is the core strategy to eliminate onchocerciasis in Africa; in the Americas the strategy is biannual large-scale treatment with ivermectin.

(http://www.who.int)

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