Ocular onchocerciasis and the intensity of infection in the community. IV. The degraded forest of Sierra Leone

Trop Med Parasitol. 1992 Jun;43(2):75-9.


To assess the pattern of onchocercal ocular disease and blindness in south Sierra Leone, ophthalmological surveys were carried out in 13 highly infected villages located in various river basins. The most important finding was the blinding potential of onchocerciasis in the degraded forest area where the prevalence of onchocercal blindness reached levels of up to 6%. This is remarkable since previous studies have claimed onchocerciasis in the forest to cause little blindness. Ocular onchocerciasis undoubtedly constitutes a problem of public health importance in south Sierra Leone. The rates of onchocercal ocular disease and blindness, however, were significantly lower than those found in savanna villages with similar levels of endemicity. The community pattern of ocular onchocerciasis was not significantly different from the classical pattern in the forest but this could be explained by the low endemicity levels in the forest villages studied. It is therefore not possible to deduce from this study whether the pattern of ocular onchocerciasis in south Sierra Leone is of the forest type, or a pattern on its own.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Child
  • Chorioretinitis / epidemiology
  • Chorioretinitis / etiology
  • Chorioretinitis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iridocyclitis / epidemiology
  • Iridocyclitis / etiology
  • Iridocyclitis / pathology
  • Keratitis / epidemiology
  • Keratitis / pathology
  • Male
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / complications
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / epidemiology*
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / pathology
  • Optic Atrophy / epidemiology
  • Optic Atrophy / etiology
  • Optic Atrophy / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sclerosis
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology
  • Trees