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Bull World Health Organ. 1997;75(3):237-45.

Required duration of combined annual ivermectin treatment and vector control in the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in west Africa.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands.


In the extension areas of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa, aerial larviciding is supplemented with annual ivermectin treatment, mainly to achieve better control of morbidity. The purpose of this study is to determine whether and to what extent the addition of annual ivermectin treatment permits earlier cessation of vector control than originally recommended. The effectiveness of combined ivermectin distribution and vector control was assessed using an epidemiological model. Model predictions suggest that, dependent on the pre-control endemicity of the area and the proportion of persons treated during each ivermectin round, large-scale annual treatment permits a considerable reduction in the duration of vector control. Taking into account uncertainty about the efficacy of ivermectin, our results indicate that, provided treatment coverage is at least 65% and there is no importation of infection from elsewhere, 12 years of combined control will be sufficient to reduce the risk of recrudescence to below 1% in even the most afflicted areas.

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