An appraisal of the epidemiologic situation of onchocerciasis in Ethiopia

Zein, Z.A.

Parassitologia 32(2): 237-244


ISSN/ISBN: 0048-2951
PMID: 2132435
Document Number: 366335
The epidemiology of onchocerciasis (caused by Onchocerca volvulus) in Ethiopia is discussed. In the last 50 years the disease has spread from southwestern Ethiopia, and is now endemic in the southwest and northwest of the country. Although comprehensive epidemiological surveys have not been performed, it is estimated that some 7.3 million people (17.4% of the Ethiopian population) are at risk (1984 data). The principal vectors are members of the Simulium damnosum complex and S. ethiopiense. The clinical picture is largely dermal and ocular manifestations of the disease are rare. It is concluded that the incidence of onchocerciasis is likely to increase dramatically in Ethiopia with the initiation of agricultural development projects and the resettlement of refugees from the Ethiopian highlands in endemic areas of the country. The control of onchocerciasis, using expertise gained with trials of the drug ivermectin in West Africa, is also considered and it is suggested that control activities should be integrated into the existing primary health care system in Ethiopia.

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