Forest onchocerciasis in Cameroon: its distribution and implications for selection of communities for control programmes

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1997 Jan;91(1):79-86. doi: 10.1080/00034983.1997.11813114.


The prevalence of infection and disease due to Onchocerca volvulus in regions at different altitudes and distances from the nearest breeding site for the Simulium vectors were studied in a forested area of Cameroon. A total of 1,785 subjects in 14 villages underwent clinical and parasitological evaluation. According to WHO endemicity criteria, villages 267 and 720 m above the sea level (asl) were hyperendemic, whereas lower villages, at 55 n asl, were meso-endemic. Altitude was positively correlated and distance from vector breeding site negatively correlated with several clinical indicators of onchocerciasis: prevalence of infection, microfilarial density, onchocercomata, and blindness. Location and altitude of his or her village and the subject's duration of residence in the village, age and sex were all found to be independent predictors of infection by logistic regression. The observed pattern of forest onchocerciasis reflects an interplay of multiple factors rather than a simple relationship between endemicity and distance from the nearest river. In order to select communities most affected by onchocerciasis for control programmes, two indicators, the prevalence of blindness and the prevalence of onchocercomata, might be used.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Altitude
  • Animals
  • Cameroon / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Vectors
  • Endemic Diseases*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Microfilariae / isolation & purification
  • Middle Aged
  • Onchocerciasis / epidemiology*
  • Onchocerciasis / pathology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / epidemiology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Topography, Medical