Volume 99, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Ivermectin treatment can cause central nervous system adverse events (CNS-AEs) in persons with very high-density microfilaremia (≥ 30,000 mf/mL blood). Hypoendemic onchocerciasis areas where is endemic have been excluded from ivermectin mass drug administration programs (MDA) because of the concern for CNS AEs. The rapid assessment procedure for (RAPLOA) is a questionnaire survey to assess history of eye worm. If ≥ 40% of respondents report eye worm, this correlates with ≥ 2% prevalence of very high-density loiasis microfilaremia, posing an unacceptable risk of CNS-AEs after MDA. In 2016, we conducted a study in 110 ivermectin-naïve, suspected onchocerciasis hypoendemic villages in southern Nigeria. In previous RAPLOA surveys these villages had prevalences between 10% and 67%. We examined 10,605 residents using the LoaScope, a cell phone–based imaging device for rapidly determining the microfilaria (mf) density of infections. The mean village mf prevalence was 6.3% (range 0–29%) and the mean individual mf count among positives was 326 mf/mL. The maximum individual mf count was only 11,429 mf/mL, and among 2,748 persons sampled from the 28 villages with ≥ 40% RAPLOA, the ≥ 2% threshold of very high mf density could be excluded with high statistical confidence ( < 0.01). These findings indicate that ivermectin MDA can be delivered in this area with extremely low risk of –related CNS-AEs. We also concluded that in Nigeria the RAPLOA survey methodology is not predictive of ≥ 2% prevalence of very high-density microfilaremia.


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  • Received : 22 Feb 2018
  • Accepted : 04 Apr 2018
  • Published online : 14 May 2018

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