37.3  Onchocerciasis

Onchocerciasis is pronounced ‘onk-oh-serk-eye-assis’.

Onchocerciasis is a parasitic vector-borne disease caused by a worm that affects the skin, lymph nodes and the eyes of infected people. It is also called river blindness. The WHO estimates that worldwide there are about 500,000 people who are blind due to onchocerciasis. The disease is caused by a tiny worm called Onchocerca volvulus (Figure 37.12), which is transmitted from person to person in the bite of blackflies.

An Onchocerca volvulus worm
Figure 37.12  An Onchocerca volvulus worm, stained blue and magnified by viewing with a microscope. (Photo: CDC Image Library, image 1147)

37.2.4  Prevention and control of leishmaniasis

37.3.1  Where is onchocerciasis common in Ethiopia?