Short- and long-term action of multiple doses of ivermectin on loiasis microfilaremia.

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  • 1 Departement de Parasitologie, Mycologie et Medecine Tropicale, Faculte de Medecine et des Sciences de la Sante, Libreville, Gabon.

One hundred nine Gabonese patients infected with Loa loa microfilariae were treated with ivermectin (200 microg/kg of body weight) at the Parasitology, Mycology and Tropical Medicine Department (Faculte de Medecine et des Sciences de la Sante, Libreville, Gabon). Each was given one dose per month for six consecutive months. The peripheral blood microfilaria (mf) count before and after each dose showed an average decrease in the microfilaremia of 87.3% (short-term-single dose). An annual single-dose mass treatment with 200 microg/kg of ivermectin was sufficient to control the parasite in populations with low (< 400/ml) L. loa mf counts. One month after the sixth dose (short-term-multiple doses), the average microfilaremia rate had decreased by 99.2% compared with the initial infection (35 patients). Samples were taken from 28 patients one month after the first dose and one month after the sixth dose. The average mf count decreased by 96.4% after the first dose and by 99.6% after the sixth dose (average residual mf counts = 13.7 and 1.5 mf/ml, respectively). The mf count after the sixth dose was only 11.2% of the count after the first dose. The low mf count persisted for more than six months after the sixth treatment (long-term-multiple doses). Thus, mass treatment with multiple doses is more appropriate for areas where the blood mf count is very high. These results show that the number of the annual treatments used in mass chemotherapy with ivermectin can be adapted to each population to provide efficient protection.