Onchocerciasis

Despite civil unrest, almost half a million Yemenis treated for onchocerciasis

©Taha Al - Mahbashi

14 February 2019 | Geneva |Cairo | Sana’a −− Health-care workers in Yemen have defied the odds and distributed medicines to people at risk of onchocerciasis through a large-scale treatment campaign in 33 districts of the country’s eight governorates.
The three-day campaign, on 28–31 January 2019, was led by the Yemen Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) and financial assistance from various sources.

Elimination mapping of endemic countries key to defeating river blindness

©Sightsavers

29 November 2018 | Geneva –– New data from an elimination mapping will be crucial to identifying all remaining areas where transmission of onchocerciasis (also called river blindness) occurs, as the world sustains progress towards defeating this parasitic disease.
Mapping will also help to prevent a recrudescence of blinding onchocerciasis and will be vital in determining when to stop treatment.
This is the first mapping towards elimination of transmission, as previous such strategies focused mainly on control.

WHO welcomes new funding to accelerate demise of neglected tropical diseases

©Emirates News Agency

16 November 2017 | Geneva –– The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the launch of a US$100 million dollar fund to accelerate the elimination of two devastating infectious neglected tropical diseases diseases – onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).

The announcement was made during the Reaching the Last Mile: mobilizing together to eliminate infectious disease held in Abu Dhabi on 15 November, which focused on the eradication of two diseases – polio and Guinea worm disease.

River blindness: shifting from prevention to surveillance and elimination

Woman washing clothes by a river while black flies whizz around her,
Salambongo village, Democratic Republic of Congo. © N.Brandvold/DNDi

12 November 2017 | Geneva –– After years of painstaking control and prevention activities, the world is finally edging to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) - a disabling parasitic infection that can result in blindness, impaired vision and skin disease.

Latest data show that globally almost 133 million people received treatment in 2016, compared with 46 million in 2005.
Despite remaining challenges, some obstacles to achieving elimination include 100% geographic coverage, instability and lack of political will.

WHO updates crucial guidelines for river blindness

22 January 2016 | Geneva –– WHO has published revised guidelines for onchocerciasis as many countries approach the end of the treatment phase.

The new document updates content of guidelines that were written in 2001.

A lot has happened since and WHO now targets the elimination of the disease in Latin America and in Yemen by 2020.

Videos

River Blindness (Onchocerciasis)
© Carter Center

Contacts

Media contact:
Ashok Moloo
+41 79 540 50 86
molooa@who.int