river blindness


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river blindness

or

onchocerciasis,

disease caused by the parasitic nematode worm Onchocerca volvulus. The worm larvae are transmitted by the bites of blackflies (genus Simulium) that live in fast moving streams. Inside the body the worms form disfiguring skin nodules, where they mate. Their tiny larvae, or microfilariae, migrate through the skin, causing severe itching. If the infection reaches the area of the eye, allergic reaction to the microfilariae can cause blindness.

Tests can now detect infestation before the disease has progressed, and the new drugs ivermectin, which kills the larvae, and amocarzine, which kills adult forms, have begun to help control the disease. Blackfly eradication programs have had limited success because the flies can quickly develop resistance to pesticides.

River blindness, which occurs primarily in Africa, Central and South America, and Yemen, affects an estimated 18 million people. In Africa, two strains have been identified, a savanna strain and a forest strain. The forest strain does not usually lead to blindness, but it does cause severe skin symptoms (lesions, itching, discoloration, change in texture) that can result in social ostracism.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The Reaching the Last Mile Fund aims to raise $100 million to fast-track ongoing efforts to end river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in several countries in Africa and the Middle East.
But such was not the case: 30 years later, in 2017, river blindness rages on across the world, afflicting as many as (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125028/) 37 million people , 270,000 of whom have been left permanently blind.
The data could also be used to support regional control and elimination strategies for other infectious diseases, for example, Schistosomiasis (snail fever), River Blindness, HIV, Dengue and Yellow Fever, said the paper published in the journal Scientific Data.
Ivermectin, an antifilarial drug, is the essential tool in eradicating river blindness from the developing world.
In river blindness you may have seen the image of a young child leading a blind father, mother, grandfather or grandmother on a stick.
For example, in a report by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the research-based pharmaceutical industry has pledged to donate 14 billion treatments between 2011 and 2020 for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases, such as leprosy and river blindness.
Two scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of a drug being used to eradicate river blindness. William C.
This year, the Nobel Prize was awarded to 3 scientists -- Youyou Tu for a malaria therapy, and the team of William Campbell and Satoshi Omura in treating river blindness and elephantiasis.
Omura have helped many potential patients who would have suffered from river blindness and lymphatic, mosquito-born diseases.
"Prof Campbell's work on developing the drug Avermectin, which combats the roundworm parasite and other organisms, is d already bringing benefits to people across the planet." Campbell and Omura were cited for discovering avermectin, derivatives of which have helped lower the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, two diseases caused by parasitic worms that affect millions.
River blindness is an eye and skin disease that leads to blindness.