Abstract

Ivermectin, given to onchocerciasis patients as a single oral dose of 200 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, substantially reduced the uptake of Onchocerca volvulus microfilariae by Simulium yahense, an efficient black fly vector of the parasite in the tropical rain forests of West Africa. Three months after treatment, patients given ivermectin infected flies at a significantly lower rate than those who had received diethylcarbamazine or placebo, thereby reducing the number of developing larvae in the vector population. This diminished rate of infectiousness was also evident 6 months after treatment. These results strongly suggest that ivermectin could be effective in interrupting transmission of Onchocerca volvulus for epidemiologically important periods of time.

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