River Blindness

Below you will find more information about River Blindness from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of River Blindness it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with River Blindness and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to River Blindness comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

The medical term for this condition is Onchocerciasis which is the world's second most leading infectious cause of blindness. Basically it is a skin and eye infection which is caused by the helmith (worm) Onchocerca volvulus. The black fly that carries the worm is only seen in parts of Africa, South America and Middle East.

Diagnosis

Direct visualization of the larvae emerging from superficial skin biopsies is performed. In some instances directly observing the microfilariae using a slit lamp when transferring into the anterior chamber of the eye is done.

Treatment

Anti-helminth medication - ivermectin Oral prednisolone to be taken for 2-3 days if severe allergic reaction occurs

Symptoms and Signs

Here are some known symptoms of river blindness: Extreme itching Nodules in the skin Hives-like rash Limbs are swelling Spotty skin Wrinkled and toughed skin Groin lymph nodes are enlarged Eyes are itchy and red Cataracts Vision is blurred or unclear

Causes

This is caused by the Onchocerca volvulus, a nematode that can live for up to fifteen years in the human body. This is acquired through the bite of a black fly. The worms acquired from the bite of the fly then spreads to the body and when it dies they cause severe itching and strong immune system response that can destroy nearby tissue like the eye.

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