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Free Content The impact of ivermectin treatment alone and when in parallel with Simulium neavei elimination on onchocerciasis in Uganda

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The study was conducted in August 2002 in Kigoyera parish in Kyenjojo district, where ivermectin treatment had been the strategy to control onchocerciasis since 1991 and was later supplemented with Simulium neavei control in 1995 and subsequent elimination; and in July 2003 in Kicece parish in Kamwenge district, where ivermectin treatment alone had been the strategy used to control onchocerciasis since 1991. Our objective was to examine and compare the impact of ivermectin treatment alone and when in parallel with S. neavei elimination on nodule and microfilariae carrier rates and on onchocercal dermatitis to provide baseline data that could be used to monitor the trends of microfilariae carrier rates for decision-making on when to discontinue ivermectin treatment. The combined interventions had significantly reduced onchocercal dermatitis from 34% pre-control to 2.9% (P < 0.001), microfilariae carrier rate from 88 to 7.5% (P < 0.001) and nodule prevalence from 49 to 19.2% (P < 0.001). Ivermectin treatment alone had also reduced onchocercal dermatitis prevalence from 34.2% pre-control to 9.5% (P < 0.001), the microfilariae carrier rate from 78 to 27.8% (P < 0.001) and nodule prevalence from 49.1 to 14.2% (P < 0.001). None of the children under 10 years were nodule or microfilariae carriers in both study areas. Histological examination of eight nodules extirpated from patients in Kigoyera identified five male and 12 female adult worms that were all old and alive. Five live and one dead female worms and one live male worm were identified from nodules extirpated from patients in Kicece. There was no female worm with embryogenesis from the nodules obtained from Kigoyera while two female worms from five nodules obtained from Kicece still showed a few embryos. Two female worms in each of the study area had sperms in uteri indicating that male worms were still active. Ivermectin treatment in parallel with vector elimination had a greater impact on onchocercal dermatitis and microfilariae carrier rates than ivermectin treatment alone. It would be worthwhile considering supplementation of ivermectin treatment with vector elimination in all isolated foci with S. neavei transmission to hasten the elimination of onchocerciasis as a public health and socio-economic problem in those foci.

Keywords: Simulium neavei elimination; Uganda; ivermectin treatment; microfilariae carrier rate; nodule carrier rate; onchocercal dermatitis; onchocercoma histology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  National Onchocerciasis Control Programme, Vector Control Division, Kampala, Uganda 2:  Onchocerciasis Control, Kabarole District, Kampala, Uganda 3:  Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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