Prevalence of onchocerciasis in the Fundong Health District, Cameroon after 6 years of continuous community-directed treatment with ivermectin
AbstractIntroduction: Onchocerciasis is one of the leading infectious causes of blindness affecting over 37 million people of which 99% are in Africa. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of onchocerciasis in the Fundong Health District, a locality where community-directed treatment with ivermectin has been carried out for 6 consecutive years.
Methods: Questionnaires covering participants’ identity, Rapid Epidemiological Assessment (REA) for onchocerciasis and parasitological parameters were distributed to participants. Skin snip (SS) was collected for laboratory investigation.
Results: A total of 404 participants belonging to 200 households were randomly selected from the Fundong Health District, of which 134 (33.2%) were males and 270(66.8%) were females, 14 (3.5%) had microfilaredermia and 15(3.7%) had nodules. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of microfilaredermia with respect to age of participants (X2=2.749, P=0.601). There was however a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of nodule and impaired vision/eye itching (IVIE) with respect to age (X2=24.67, P<0.001). The greatest rate of infection was found among farmers (2.5%) followed by students (0.7%) and businessmen (0.25%).
Conclusion: This study shows that the study area is now hypo-endemic for onchocerciasis, following 6 years of continuous treatment with ivermectin. Careful monitoring of onchocerciasis should however be continued to avoid that the area returns to its initial hyper endemicity.