Comparison of the Effects of a Single Dose and of Four Six-Monthly Doses of Ivermectin on Adult Onchocerca Volvulus

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  • American Registry of Pathology, World Health Organization, Collaborating Centre for the Histopathology of Filarial Diseases in Man, Department of Infectious and Parasitic Disease Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Departamento de Enfermedad de Robles (Oncocercosis), S.N.E.M, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, The Wilmer Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Public Health, Washington, DC, Guatemala

Adult Onchocerca volvulus worms, extracted from nodules of Guatemalans by collagenase digestion, were examined whole and by histological techniques. One group of persons received a single 150 µg/kg dose of ivermection; two other groups (one with older and one with younger nodules) received four similar doses of ivermectin at 6-month intervals. For each group, there were comparable untreated controls. All nodules were removed six months after the last dose. After a single dose, the only significant difference from the controls was in the decreased proportion of female worms producing live microfilariae. After four doses, there were significant increases in the proportions of moribund/dead female worms and of live uninseminated females, when compared with the corresponding controls. There were also fewer male worms present, but this difference was not significant. Six months after the conclusion of the 4-dose regimen, the proportion of female worms producing live microfilariae was significantly lower than in the groups that had received a single dose.