Blindness Caused By Biting Black Flies
River Blindness is a tropical disease caused by a parasitic worm laid by biting black flies.
About 300,000 people are blind because of the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus from biting black flies and another 800,000 have a visual impairment. Nearly 99% of infected persons live in Africa. Precious eyesight can be saved, river blindness is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide.
|Man in Tanzania Africa with River blindness|
What is River Blindness?
River Blindness is transmitted through repeated bites by black flies that bite during the day.
The disease is called River Blindness because the blackfly that transmits the infection lives and breeds near fast-flowing streams and rivers and the infection can result in blindness.
How Common is River Blindness?
Worldwide river blindness is second only to trachoma as an infectious cause of preventable blindness. In some West African communities, the disease had blinded about 50% of men over the age of 40 years.
People with major river blindness infections will usually have one or more of three conditions of itchy skin rash, eye disease, and/or nodules under the skin.
Nearly 99% of infected persons live in Africa. River Blindness is commonly treated with an oral medicine called ivermectin, however; there is neither a vaccine nor recommended drug available to prevent River Blindness.
Trachoma, an eye infection affecting both eyes, is the world's leading cause of preventable blindness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), trachoma is responsible for the visual impairment of 2.2 million people, of whom 1.2 million are irreversibly blind.
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