One method is by vector control. An international (World Health Organisation) programme, the onchocerciasis control programme, has been successful in reducing the endemicity of the disease in the Volta river basin.
Chemotherapy of infected patients now uses Ivermectin, which in a single dose rids the patient of microfilariae for one to two years. This medication needs to be repeated over several years in mass administration projects.
Diethylcarbamazine is the older treatment for the microfilariae but is more toxic and requires to be taken over a two- to three-week period. Adult worms can only be killed by suramin, or removed surgically.
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