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KEY FACTS: 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.
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