The infection caused by onchocerca volvulus, a parasitic worm is known as Onchocerciasis or Robles disease. This disease is also known as river blindness as these parasites live near rivers. Onchocerciasis is caused by the bites of infected worms carrying the disease causing bacteria. Patients having this infection would exhibit itching, bumps or lumps under the skin and blindness.
HOW IS ONCHOCERCIASIS DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of the condition is usually done by a dermatologist on the basis of a physical examination as well as various lab tests including blood, urine and stool. Also, the doctor will conduct a skin test using sample tissue from the lesions for proper diagnosis.
HOW IS ONCHOCERCIASIS TREATED?
This disease can be treated with drugs such as ivermectin also known as Mectizan. This drug can prevent the disease from progressing and causing blindness. Antibiotics such as doxycycline would help to kill the bacteria causing this disease.
DID YOU KNOW?
Till date, Onchocerciasis remains to be one of the leading conditions for blindness in African countries. In fact, in places like Ghana, this parasite is already showing resistance to the medicines.