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Onchocerciasis Elimination: Progress and Challenges

Authors Lakwo T, Oguttu D, Ukety T, Post R, Bakajika D

Received 8 July 2020

Accepted for publication 16 August 2020

Published 7 October 2020 Volume 2020:11 Pages 81—95


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Mario Rodriguez-Perez

Thomson Lakwo,1 David Oguttu,1 Tony Ukety,2 Rory Post,3,4 Didier Bakajika5

1Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program, Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda; 2Centre de Recherche pour les Maladies Tropicales, Rethy, Ituri Province, The Democratic Republic of the Congo; 3Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK; 4School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK; 5Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo

Correspondence: Thomson Lakwo Email

Abstract: Onchocerciasis is a parasitic infection caused by the filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus and transmitted through the bites of black flies of the genus Similium that breed in rivers and streams. The impact of mass treatment with ivermectin and supplemented by vector control in some countries has changed the global scene of onchocerciasis. There has been reported progress made in elimination of onchocerciasis in central and southern American countries and in some localities in Africa. The target for elimination in the Americas has been set at 2022 while for 12 countries in Africa this is expected in 2030. This review was conducted to examine the current status of onchocerciasis elimination at the global level and report on progress made. Literature searches were made through PubMed, articles in English or English abstracts, reports and any other relevant articles related to the subject. The global burden of onchocerciasis is progressively reducing and is no longer a public health problem in some regions. However, programs are challenged with a range of issues: cross-border transmission, diagnostic tools, Loa loa co-endemicity, limited workforce in entomology and maintaining enthusiasm among community drug distributors. More concerted effort using appropriate tools is required to overcome the challenges.

Keywords: onchocerciasis, ivermectin, vector control, elimination, progress, challenges

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