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LACK OF RESISTANCE AFTER RE-EXPOSURE OF CATTLE CURED OF ONCHOCERCA OCHENGI INFECTION WITH OXYTETRACYCLINE

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  • 1 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement, Wakwa, Cameroon

Although vector control and ivermectin chemotherapy have led to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of river blindness (onchocerciasis), there is a consensus that additional control tools are required to sustain and extend this success. The recognition of endosymbiotic bacteria (Wolbachia) in filariae and their targeting by antibiotics constitutes the most significant and practicable opportunity for a macrofilaricidal therapy in the short-to-medium-term. Using Onchocerca ochengi in cattle, an analog of human onchocerciasis, we have previously shown that oxytetracycline is macrofilaricidal, and protective immunity exists naturally in a subset of animals termed putatively immune. Here, we report that although 24 weeks of weekly oxytetracycline treatment eliminated adult worms, cured animals remained susceptible to re-infection by natural challenge when compared with putatively immune cattle. However, their susceptibility was not significantly different from that of concurrently exposed, heavily infected animals. Thus, cattle cured by oxytetracycline are neither hypo-susceptible nor hyper-susceptible.

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