Important progress towards elimination of onchocerciasis in the West Region of Cameroon

Type Journal Article - Parasites & Vectors
Title Important progress towards elimination of onchocerciasis in the West Region of Cameroon
Volume 10
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 373
After more than a decade of community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) in the West Region of Cameroon, epidemiological evaluation conducted in 2011 showed that onchocerciasis endemicity was still high in some communities. The conceptual framework for onchocerciasis elimination recommends in such case, to conduct additional phase 1A surveys at intervals of three to four years. Therefore, to assess the progress made towards the elimination of onchocerciasis in the West CDTI projects, we conducted a cross-sectional survey in May 2015 in 15 unevaluated communities where the highest baseline endemicity level were found in 1996. All volunteers living for at least five years in the community, aged five years or more, underwent clinical and parasitological examinations. Individual adherence to ivermectin treatment was also assessed. Analyses of data were weighted proportionally to age and gender distribution in the population.

The mean age was 28.4 ± 22.2 years and there were 55% of women among the 2058 individuals examined. The weighted prevalences were 5.5%, 2.1% and 1.7% for microfilaridermia, nodule and cutaneous signs, respectively. The weighted microfilaridermia prevalences varied from 4.0 in 5–9 years old to 11.6% in 40–49 years old. In the 30 children under 10 years examined in Makouopsap, the weighted prevalences were 49.9% for microfilaridermia and 13.3% for nodule. In surveyed communities, the weighted prevalences varied from 0 to 41.6% for microfilaridermia, with 11 (73.3%) communities having <5%. Except Makouopsap which had 41.6%, all the surveyed communities were below 15% for microfilaridermia prevalence. The community microfilarial load (CMFL) expressed in microfilariae/skin snip (mf/ss), also significantly dropped by 98–100%, from 3.75–33.16 mf/ss in 1996 to 0–0.94 mf/ss in 2015. The weighted therapeutic coverage in 2014 was 69.4% and the 5 years’ adherence was only 39.3% among participants.

After more than 15 years of CDTI, there is an important progress towards the elimination of onchocerciasis in the communities surveyed. Innovative strategy like semi-annual ivermectin treatment plus vector control or the adjunction of a vector control strategy to the current annual treatment should be implemented in the bordering districts of the Centre and West Regions, as well as in other parts of the country with persistent high prevalences in the sight of onchocerciasis elimination.

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