An international team of researchers are calling for better public health campaigns to reduce the numbers affected by river blindness.
River blindness is a disease transmitted by biting flies, affecting areas such as West Africa, Nigeria, Congo, the Central African Republic and Central and South America, and causing significant health problems for at least 18 million people. The flies carry a parasite called Onchocerca volvulus, which lays microscopic worms in the human host. The body’s immune response towards these worms can lead to eye opacities, eventually causing blindness, and in some cases, skin disease.
The team have developed a mathematical model, published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which measures exposure by looking at how often people were bitten by the flies carrying the parasite. The new model can also be applied globally, unlike previous models which only looked at one geographical area, limiting how well they could be applied.
Tony Stephenson | alfa
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