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 ?
Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. It is transmitted from person to person by the bite of infected black flies of the genus Simulium.
When an infected black fly bites a person, it can transmit the larvae of the parasite into the person’s skin. The larvae then migrate to the subcutaneous tissues, where they develop into adult worms over a period of several months to a year. The adult worms produce microfilariae, which can then be taken up by black flies and transmitted to other humans when they bite.
Risk factors for onchocerciasis include living in or frequenting areas where the disease is prevalent, such as rural areas along fast-flowing rivers in sub-Saharan Africa, and exposure to infected black flies. People who live in or work in areas with poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, and limited use of insecticide-treated bed nets are also at increased risk of infection.
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 mass drug administration (MDA) and other public health measures. The use of insecticide-treated bed nets, avoiding exposure to black flies, and practicing good hygiene can also help reduce the risk 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.