The Effects of Repetitive Community-Wide Ivermectin Treatment on Transmission of Ochocerca Volvulus in Guatemala

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  • Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Entomology Section, Department of Onchocerciasis (Robles Disease), SNEM, Ministry of Public Health, Tucson, Arizona, Guatemala

The effects of biannual ivermectin treatment at the community level on transmission of Onchocera volvulus during the dry season were measured over a 30-month period in Guatemala. In the Los Tarrales Transmission Zone, an area encompassing three villages, significant changes occurred in both the prevalence and quantity of infection in the Simulium ochraceum vector population. These included a 76% reduction in females with infective stage larvae (L3s) and an 80% reduction in number of L3s per 1,000 parous flies. Significant reductions in both the mean infective biting density (IBD) and mean transmission potential (TP) also occurred. In Santa Emilia, the prevalence of infection with L3s in S. ochraceum was significantly reduced by 77% from the baseline value. The number of O. volvulus L3s per 1,000 parous flies was also reduced by 92%. Changes in both the IBD and TP were substantial but not significant due to the high degree of variance in the occurrence of O. volvulus L3s in the vector population. This was due, in part, to the movement of infected migrant workers into the finca (coffee farm). In Los Andes, four recurrent treatments successfully blocked transmission of infective stage larvae. Prevalence (flies with all stages of developing larvae) in the vector population was reduced by 89% over the two-year period; yearly reductions in both the IBD and TP were also highly significant, ultimately ending in zero values. This finding is particularly striking since prior to treatment, Los Andes exhibited the highest IBD of the three study locations and the second highest TP.