Volume 93, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We report the elimination of transmission from the Central Endemic Zone (CEZ) of onchocerciasis in Guatemala, the largest focus of this disease in the Americas and the first to be discovered in this hemisphere by Rodolfo Robles Valverde in 1915. Mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin was launched in 1988, with semiannual MDA coverage reaching at least 85% of the eligible population in > 95% of treatment rounds during the 12-year period, 2000–2011. Serial parasitological testing to monitor MDA impact in sentinel villages showed a decrease in microfilaria skin prevalence from 70% to 0%, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based entomological assessments of the principal vector s.l. showed transmission interruption by 2007. These assessments, together with a 2010 serological survey in children 9–69 months of age that showed Ov16 IgG4 antibody prevalence to be < 0.1%, meeting World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for stopping MDA, and treatment was halted after 2011. After 3 years an entomological assessment showed no evidence of vector infection or recrudescence of transmission. In 2015, 100 years after the discovery of its presence, the Ministry of Health of Guatemala declared onchocerciasis transmission as having been eliminated from the CEZ.


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  • Received : 15 May 2015
  • Accepted : 17 Jul 2015
  • Published online : 09 Dec 2015

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