Eye Deceases

Onchocerciasis (B73+)

About Onchocerciasis

Onchocerciasis is a kind of deadly disease in which a human being can lose his eye-sight for ever. Onchocerciasis is a parasitic disease which can be rooted by the filarial worm and that worm is called as Onchocerca volvulus. Onchocerciasis is transmitted to human body when infected blackflies of Simulium species bite. These species carry immature larval forms of the parasite from human to human and therefore the infection of this disease is very deadly. The larvae form nodules in the subcutaneous tissue in the human body and all the worms get mature inside the body and once they get mature, the male worm meet female worm and produce up to 1000 microfilariae a day. All these worms move throughout the body and in this system many of the worms die too and that causes blindness, skin rashes, lesions, intense itching and skin depigmentation in the human body.

Onchocerciasis is also well known as river blindness and Robles' Disease. Onchocerciasis is a deadly parasite disease which is formed by infection by Onchocerca volvulus. Onchocerciasis is considered as the world's second-leading infectious cause of blindness and hardly a few people can get well treatment to get rid of this disease.

The study of Dr. Rodolfo Robles Valverde made a considereable edge in 1915 to have the discovery of the treatment of this disease. Robles said, “The vector of the disease is a day-biting insect, and more specifically two anthrophilic species of Simulium flies found in the endemic areas.” In 1917, Robles showed his findings to all and he suggested how to get rid of this disease easily.

ICD-10 B73.
ICD-9 125.3
DiseasesDB 9218
eMedicine med/1667 oph/709
MeSH D009855

Symptoms of Onchocerciasis

Some of the remarkable symptoms of Onchocerciasis are -

  • The main symptom of this disease is skin involvement which normally consists of deep itching, swelling, and soreness. However, there is a grading system which has been updated to classify the degree of skin involvement.
  • A human being can feel severe papular onchodermatitis which is scattered pruritic papules.
  • Chronic papular onchodermatitis is also one of the most important symptoms of this disease.  It is larger papule, which result in hyperpigmentation.
  • Lichenified onchodermatitis is also considered as a symptom of onchocerciasis. It is hyperpigmented papules and plaques, with edema, lymphadenopathy, pruritus and common secondary bacterial infections and it is occurred after 15 days of infection.
  • Skin shrivel is like a loss of elasticity and this skin resembles tissue paper which is something like 'lizard skin' appearance and therefore skin shrivel is considered the most important symptom of this disease.
  • Depigmentation is also a symptom of onchocerciasis. It is also like 'leopard skin' appearance, usually on anterior lower leg however, it occurs after 15 days of infection.

Treatment of Onchocerciasis

The main treatment for onchocerciasis is ivermectin which is also called as Mectizan. This is the treatment used for mass. Two doses of ivermectin, six months apart, repeated every three years is the main dosage of this drug for the infected people. However, this has some side effects too like causing fever, itching, and possibly oedema, arthritis and lymphadenopathy. However, this drug is very helpful for protecting the human body for the future attack of this worm. Nowadays, Ivermectin treatment is predominantly effective because it only needs to be taken once or twice a year and this drug does not require any refrigeration and also this drug has the capacity to have a wide margin of safety. You can also take this drug from a minimum knowledge of health workers

Causes of Onchocerciasis

The main cause of this deadly disease is in the human eyes. This disease can cause for total blindness.

Onchocerciasis Types

There are many types of Onchocerciasis particularly Erisipela de la costa, Mal morando, Sowda, Leopard skin, Elephant skin and Lizard skin etc.