Onchocerciasis, also known as River Blindness, is a parasitic disease caused by the filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus. It is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected blackflies. The infection can lead to severe itching, skin disfigurement, and visual impairment or blindness if left untreated.

Onchocerciasis, River Blindness FAQ

What is Onchocerciasis?

Onchocerciasis, also known as River Blindness, is a parasitic infection caused by the filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus.

How is Onchocerciasis transmitted?

It is transmitted through the bites of infected blackflies.

What are the symptoms of River Blindness?

Symptoms may include severe itching, skin changes, and visual impairment that can lead to blindness.

What are the treatment options for Onchocerciasis?

The primary treatment is the drug Ivermectin, which can help control the infection.

Is River Blindness preventable?

Preventive measures include controlling blackfly populations through insecticides and vector control.

Can Onchocerciasis lead to permanent blindness?

Yes, if left untreated, Onchocerciasis can cause permanent blindness.

How common is Onchocerciasis?

It is endemic in certain regions of Africa, Latin America, and Yemen.

Who is at risk of Onchocerciasis?

People living in or traveling to endemic areas are at risk.

Is there an effective vaccine for River Blindness?

There is currently no vaccine available for Onchocerciasis.

Can pets transmit Onchocerciasis?

No, Onchocerciasis is not transmitted from pets to humans.

What complications can arise from Onchocerciasis?

Complications may include skin changes, eye disease, and in severe cases, blindness.

Can Onchocerciasis be diagnosed through blood tests?

Diagnosis is typically made through skin snips to identify the larval worms.

Are there any side effects of Onchocerciasis medications?

The most common side effects may include dizziness, headache, and muscle pain.

How long does treatment for River Blindness usually last?

Treatment may need to be repeated annually for several years in endemic regions.

Can Onchocerciasis affect children?

Yes, children can also be affected by Onchocerciasis in endemic areas.

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