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Onchocerciasis control program in West Africa: socioeconomic development and risk of recrudescence of transmission. 2. Experimental study of the transmission of Onchocerca volvulus strains from Southwestern Sierra Leone by Simulium yahense and Simulium squamosum


Onchocerciasis control program in West Africa: socioeconomic development and risk of recrudescence of transmission. 2. Experimental study of the transmission of Onchocerca volvulus strains from Southwestern Sierra Leone by Simulium yahense and Simulium squamosum



Annales de la Societe Belge de Medecine Tropicale 74(2): 129-147



ISSN/ISBN: 0772-4128

PMID: 7944649

The movements of human populations towards the mining wealth of the northern parts of Sierra Leone are favorable to a high contact rate between onchocerciasis patients coming from the south-western area of this country and the vector species Simulium yahense and Simulium squamosum which assume the essential of onchocerciasis transmission in the above-mentioned mining area. In fact, the Onchocerca volvulus strains concerned by this contact seem to be more pathogenic than those locally transmitted. In order to assess the danger it could represent for the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa, we carried out the experimental study of transmission which may result from this contact when more or less infected onchocerciasis patients are involved. The results indicated that this transmission by S. yahense may reach high proportions only when heavily infected onchocerciasis patients are implicated. We took also notice of the low capacity of S. squamosum to transmit the O. volvulus strains from the south-western Sierra Leone, irrespective of the microfilarial load of patients. Thus, in the most favorable conditions of a high parasite-vector contact of the study, involvement of S. yahense and onchocerciasis patients with high skin microfilarial loads is the only occurrence to which a high risk of intensive transmission may be related. The authors consider that the probability of such a risk occurring will be drastically reduced, due to the considerable decrease of skin microfilarial loads in human communities which regularly have the advantage of ivermectin (Mectizan) mass treatments.

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