Depletion of wolbachia endobacteria in Onchocerca volvulus by doxycycline and microfilaridermia after ivermectin treatment

Lancet. 2001 May 5;357(9266):1415-6. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04581-5.


Ivermectin is the drug used for mass chemotherapy of onchocerciasis within the WHO African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control. This approach aims to eliminate the disease as a public health problem but using one dose per year may not completely interrupt transmission since it does not suppress microfilaridermia thoroughly enough. Here we show that additional treatment with doxycycline, previously shown to sterilise adult female worms for a few months by depletion of symbiotic wolbachia endobacteria, significantly enhances ivermectin-induced suppression of microfilaridermia, rendering anti-wolbachia treatment a promising basis for blocking transmission by a drug-based approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Doxycycline / administration & dosage
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Filaricides / administration & dosage
  • Filaricides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ivermectin / administration & dosage
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use*
  • Onchocerca volvulus / drug effects*
  • Onchocerca volvulus / microbiology
  • Onchocerciasis / drug therapy*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Wolbachia / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Filaricides
  • Ivermectin
  • Doxycycline