International Journal of
Medicine and Medical Sciences

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Med. Med. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9723
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJMMS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 531

Full Length Research Paper

Epidemiology of human onchocerciasis among farmers in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Okonkwo Chuma Innocent
  • Okonkwo Chuma Innocent
  • Department of Ophthalmology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki Ebonyi State.
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Iroha Ifeanyichukwu Romanus
  • Iroha Ifeanyichukwu Romanus
  • Department of Applied Microbiology, Ebonyi State University P. M. B. 053 Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
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Ayogu Thomas Eze
  • Ayogu Thomas Eze
  • Department of Food Technology, Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, P. M. B. 01079, Enugu State, Nigeria.
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Oji Anthonia Egwu
  • Oji Anthonia Egwu
  • Department of Applied Microbiology, Ebonyi State University P. M. B. 053 Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
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Onwa Ndubuisi Collins
  • Onwa Ndubuisi Collins
  • Department of Applied Microbiology, Ebonyi State University P. M. B. 053 Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
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  •  Accepted: 01 July 2010
  •  Published: 30 August 2010

Abstract

An epidemiological study on human onchocerciasis was conducted among 450 randomly selected farmers comprising of 213 males and 187 females within the age range of 20 - 50 years and above resident in Ebonyi central senatorial zone of Ebonyi State, Nigeria from January 2009 through December. Onchocerciasis infection was diagnosed by parasitological observation for the presence of microfilariae of Onchocerca volvulus in skin biopsies and adult filariae in excised nodules. Physical examination on the skin of each subject was carried out for Onchocercal depigmentation (Leopard skin) and visible nodules while ocular examination was carried out with illiterate E chat, ophthalmoscope and tonometer. One hundred and fifty (33.3%) farmers were infected with O. volvulus comprising 100(38.0%) males and 50(26.7%) females. The highest infection rate of 37(55.3%) was observed in subjects aged of 50 years and above while the least infection was within the age range of 20 - 29 of age 17(15.5%). 19(19%) of infected males and 3(6%) females had skin lesions due to onchocerciasis, partial blindness was observed in 6(6%) males and 3(9%) females, 64(64%) males and 20(40%) females had low vision while complete blindness was observed in 4(4%) males and 2(4%) females. The importance of implementing onchocerciasis control programmes such as African programme for onchocerciasis control (APOC) and onchocerciasis control programme in West Africa (OCP) in the study areas is hereby advocated.

Key words: Onchocerciasis, microfilaria, leopard skin, nodules, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.