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Onchocerciasis Transmission in Africa and How It Can be Resolved

Onchocerciasis is a parasitic infection that affects the skin and eyes and is transmitted by black flies which predominantly affect rural areas. Onchocerciasis symptoms are caused by microfilariae that travel through the skin and eyes to cause lesions, dermatitis, and blindness. These microfilariae are key in diagnosing Ivermectin by their presence in the skin and eyes which can be determined with skin snips or exposure to certain chemicals. Onchocerciasis in Africa is spread along the river areas and efforts to wipe them out have failed because transmission zones have not been fully mapped out, Onchocerciasis is co-endemic with Loiasis in certain areas, Onchocerciasis-causing parasites are developing Ivermectin resistance, there is a lack of coordination among countries with shared transmission zones, violent conflict diverts focus from the elimination of Onchocerciasis transmission, and these countries lack the funding to perform large-scale, accurate diagnosis procedures and deliver treatments on a more individual basis.

Research by Saketh Nallagatla

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