What is Onchocerciasis ?
Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is a parasitic infection caused by the filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus. It is transmitted by the bite of infected black flies and is primarily found in rural areas along fast-flowing rivers in sub-Saharan Africa.
The adult worms live in subcutaneous nodules and produce microfilariae, which are then taken up by black flies and transmitted to humans when they bite. The microfilariae migrate to the skin, where they cause intense itching, leading to skin damage and scarring. In severe cases, the infection can cause blindness.
What are The Symptoms of Onchocerciasis ?
Symptoms of onchocerciasis include itching, rashes, skin thickening, and vision loss. The disease can be diagnosed through skin biopsy, blood tests, and examination of microfilariae in skin snips.
What are The Cuases of Onchocerciasis ?
How to Diagnose Onchocerciasis ?
Treatment for onchocerciasis typically involves mass drug administration (MDA) with the medication ivermectin, which reduces the number of adult worms and microfilariae in the infected person. Other medications, such as doxycycline, may also be used to reduce the number of adult worms. In some cases, surgical removal of the subcutaneous nodules may be necessary.
Prevention of onchocerciasis involves reducing the population of black flies through insecticide treatment and other measures, as well as preventing the spread of the infection through MDA and other public health measures.