Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Onchocerciasis (river blindness)

The disease

Onchocerciasis is an eye and skin disease caused by a worm (filaria) known scientifically as Onchocerca volvulus . It is the world's second leading infectious cause of blindness.

The international response

Three major WHO programmes summarize the international community's response towards onchocerciasis:

From the late 1980s onwards, the programmes concentrated on treating infected people with ivermectin - a safe, effective drug for killing the microfilariae that cause onchocerciasis.

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