ONCHOCERCIASIS

  • A parasitic disease that may cause blindness.
  • Occurs mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and a few isolated areas in the Americas (Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela).
    • Transmission is through blackfly bites.
  • Major risk factor for onchocerciasis is residing or having extended visit time in areas where blackflies are endemic.

Symptoms:

  • skin changes, itching, nodules, and alterations in vision.

Symptoms may not appear for months to years.

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Skin biopsies
  • Skin scrapings

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • Drug: ivermectin, given once or twice a year for about 10-15 years.
    • Doxycycline may also be utilized.
  • No vaccines or drug for disease prevention.
  • Avoid areas where blackflies are endemic.
    • Use appropriate clothing and insect repellents to reduce infection.

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