Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



In the onchocerciasis-endemic rain forest area of the Rumpi Hills in southwestern Cameroon, a community-based trial of ivermectin, given either once or twice a year over a three-year period (1988–1991), confirmed that the drug is a potent microfilaricide. The side effects recorded following the first treatment were edema, fever, pruritus, generalized body pains and lymphadenitis. Following subsequent treatments, the same adverse reactions were recorded, but these were generally milder when compared with those of the first treatment. The prevalence of skin microfilaria (mf) was more reduced in zone two, in which treatment was given every six months (76.9% reduction at the end of one year) than in the zone one, in which treatment was given once a year (7.4% reduction). In both zones, the impact of the drug in reducing the intensity of infection was more significant than that for prevalence. Besides pruritus, other skin symptoms were not significantly modified by ivermectin treatment. Ivermectin reduced the prevalence of ocular mf as well as the mf load of the anterior chamber of the eye, resulting in improvement of certain eye lesions such as punctate keratitis, anterior uveitis, and papillary anomalies. There was also some improvement in visual acuity. The level of participation of the village populations was somewhat low, ranging from 52% to 66%, despite excitement over the drug's additional benefit of expelling intestinal round worms.


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