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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2004 Jun;98(4):359-70.

Thirty-month follow-up of sub-optimal responders to multiple treatments with ivermectin, in two onchocerciasis-endemic foci in Ghana.

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  • 1Onchocerciasis Chemotherapy Research Centre (OCRC), Hohoe Hospital, P.O. Box 144, Hohoe, Ghana.


The pathogenesis of the sub-optimal response of Onchocerca volvulus to ivermectin was investigated in a 30-month follow-up of 28 individuals who, in a previous study, had been found to show a sub-optimal (N = 15) or adequate response (N = 13) to multiple treatments with the drug. Verbal informed consent was obtained before each subject was given a general clinical and ocular examination. Skin snips were taken from both iliac crests and both calves. Seventeen nodule carriers were hospitalized for nodulectomy. Adult worms were harvested, embryogrammes were constructed and all developmental stages were counted; degenerate, stretched microfilariae were noted separately. All the subjects were in good general health and all except one had received at least one additional treatment with ivermectin since the earlier study. A large proportion of the adult female worms in 10 out of the 11 sub-optimal responders who were nodule carriers were in full embryonic production but most of the stretched microfilariae they carried were degenerate. This picture is similar to that found in adult worms exposed to the first dose of ivermectin. In one subject who had no viable worms in his nodules, the existence of occult but actively reproductive worms was inferred from the high level of microfilaridermia observed less than 12 months after treatment. These observations confirm the existence of populations of adult female O. volvulus that respond poorly to repeated doses of ivermectin. The use of suramin in the treatment of the sub-optimal responders is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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