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A Tale of Two Parasites

Thursday 31 January 2008, 1230-1330
Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre Lab 1

Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is a major public health problem in wet tropical regions. The african Programme for Onchocerciasis Control(APOC) seeks to reduce the public health burden of onchocerciasis by treating whole communities prophylactically with a filaricidal drug, Ivermectin.

To date, more than 30million people have been treated. However, although Ivermectin is very effective in preventing onchocerciasis, it can cause severe, occasionally fatal, adverse reactions when given to individuals who are heavily co-infected with Loa loa (eyeworm).

For this reason, APOC's policy guidelines include a directive to put precautionary measures in place before mass treatment with Ivermectin in areas of high Loa loa prevalence. Professor Peter Diggle's talk will describe how spatial statistical modelling is contributing to the implementation of this policy.