Onchocerciasis (River blindness)


A parasitic tropical disease that affects the skin and eyes. People with this disease are usually found to be infected with O. volvulus parasite. They should undergo immediate treatment so as to prevent long-term skin damage and blindness.

  • Eye infections 
  • Bumps under the skin
  • Rashes
  • Visual impairment
  • Inability to distinguish certain colours
  • Severe itching
  • Eye redness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
Tests to diagnose: 
  • Skin snip test: A 1-2 mg shaving of the skin is collected. This is followed by a biopsy to identify the larvae. (The larvae would emerge from the skin when put in a physiologic solution like normal saline).
  • PCR
  • In patients with nodules, the nodules will be examined for adult worms.
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Antibody tests
  • The patient will be given ivermectin every 6 months.(For as long as the adult worms live or for as long as the infected person has evidence of skin or eye infection)
  • New treatment involves the use of doxycycline that kills the adult worms.