A Framework for Decision-Making for Mass Distribution of Mectizan(R) in Areas Endemic for Loa loa.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The occurrence of Loa loa encephalopathy following mass treatment of onchocerciasis with Mectizan(R) has adversely affected onchocerciasis control efforts in central Africa. Persons with very high densities of L. loa microfilaremia are at increased risk of encephalopathy, but little is known about the geographic distribution of these persons within central Africa. RAPLOA, a new technique that correlates the proportion of community members reporting a history of eyeworm with the prevalence of high-intensity L. loa microfilaremia in that community, may be useful for rapid assessment of areas at potential risk of treatment-related L. loa encephalopathy. Validation of RAPLOA is ongoing. The operational and risk-reduction advantages of RAPLOA over the current technique of village-by-village rapid epidemiologic assessment for onchocerciasis (REA) are unknown. METHODS: We developed a decision model to compare four strategies for minimizing sequelae of L. loa encephalopathy following mass treatment with Mectizan(R) in areas co-endemic for onchocerciasis and loiasis: REA; RAPLOA with threshold eyeworm prevalences of 40% and 20% (RAPLOA-40 and RAPLOA-20, respectively); and combined REA/RAPLOA-40. RESULTS: In the model, all four strategies significantly reduced risk of death and neurologic complications from L. loa encephalopathy, but RAPLOA-20 and REA resulted in half as many such cases as did RAPLOA-40 or combined REA/RAPLOA-40. CONCLUSION: RAPLOA is likely to be useful programmatically in reducing risk of L. loa encephalopathy following mass treatment with Mectizan(R). It also may be cost-saving. Before full-scale implementation, additional data are needed on geographic clustering of high-density L. loa microfilaremia and on RAPLOA's reliability and cost.
Project description:The occurrence of Serious Adverse Experiences (SAEs) following Mectizan(R) treatment of onchocerciasis in Loa loa endemic areas has been increasingly reported over the past decade. These SAEs include a severely disabling, and potentially fatal, encephalopathy, which appears to correlate with a high load of L. loa microfilariae (> 30,000 mf/ml).Previous consultations organized by the Mectizan(R) Donation Program (MDP) in 1995 and 1999 have developed useful "case" definitions of encephalopathic SAEs following Mectizan(R) treatment and have summarized available evidence on its pathogenesis and optimal clinical management. At both meetings, the need for better understanding of the pathogenesis of the encephalopathy was emphasized, including the need for biological and autopsy specimens from the affected cases.Following a recommendation at the Joint Action Forum of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control in December 2001, the MDP, on behalf of the Mectizan(R) Expert Committee, organized a Scientific Working Group on L. loa associated SAEs following Mectizan(R) treatment in May 2002. The present report includes the background, new evidence, conclusions and recommendations from that Scientific Working Group. The following points represent a summary of the present status:1. Although there are more and better quality clinical and epidemiological data on L. loa, the pathogenesis of the Mectizan(R)-related L. loa encephalopathy remains obscure.2. Very limited progress has been made in research on the pathogenesis of encephalopathy, because of the lack of specimens from cases, and the lack of animal models.3. There has been no particular breakthrough in terms of the medical management of patients with L. loa encephalopathy; however, a favorable outcome usually results from prompt general nursing and nutritional care which remain the major interventions.The main recommendations for future actions are as follows:1. Validate and update the mapping of L. loa with a combination of remote sensing and RAPLOA techniques.2. Conduct an expert analysis of the apparent clustering of encephalopathic SAEs reported so far.3. Investigate a possible "pre-treatment" scheme with high-dose albendazole in L. loa endemic communities at high risk of encephalopathic SAEs if treated with Mectizan(R); this study will be conducted in collaboration with WHO/TDR.4. Establish a post of Loiasis Technical Advisor for research and operational support in Cameroon, to conduct population surveys and to facilitate better data collection from SAE cases, including postmortem studies as appropriate.5. Investigate the possibility of developing an animal model of L. loa encephalopathy; this activity would be linked to the above-mentioned research agenda in Cameroon.6. Investigate the best care model for encephalopathic SAEs, including identification of early warning signs and therapeutic interventions.7. Develop further models for health education messages needed for community compliance with Mectizan(R) treatment, and family support for SAE cases.8. Conduct research studies on the safety of combination therapy of Mectizan(R) and albendazole in areas co-endemic for L. loa and lymphatic filariasis (LF) with coordination from the relevant technical bodies that oversee these issues.The above recommendations will be implemented through a continuing collaboration between the interested parties represented at the Scientific Working Group, involved in onchocerciasis control and/or the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.
Project description:Onchocerciasis control is currently based on mass ivermectin treatment. Unfortunately, this drug can induce serious adverse events (SAEs) in persons with high levels of Loa loa microfilaremia (> 30,000 microfilaria/mL). A means of preventing SAEs would be to treat at risk populations with a drug that would progressively reduce the microfilarial loads before administering ivermectin. Antimalarial drugs are a potential solution because they have shown some activity against various filarial species. A controlled trial was conducted to assess the effect of standard doses of quinine, chloroquine, amodiaquine, and artesunate on L. loa microfilaremia. Ninety-eight patients were randomly allocated into five groups (one for each drug and a control group) after stratification on microfilarial load. Loa loa microfilaremia was monitored on days 0, 3, 7, 15, 30, 60, and 90. No significant change in the loads was recorded in any of the treatment groups. A comprehensive review of the effects of antimalarial drugs against filariae is also provided.
Project description:Accurate diagnosis of Loa loa infection is essential to the success of mass drug administration efforts to eliminate onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, due to the risk of fatal encephalopathic reactions to ivermectin occurring among highly microfilaremic Loa-infected individuals living in areas co-endemic for multiple filarial species.From a pool of over 1,800 L. loa microfilaria (mf) expressed sequence tags, 18 candidate L. loa mf-specific PCR targets were identified. Real-time PCR (qPCR) assays were developed for two targets (LLMF72 and LLMF269). The qPCR assays were highly specific for L. loa compared with related filariae and also highly sensitive, with detection limits of 0.1 pg genomic DNA, or 1% of DNA extracted from normal blood spiked with a single L. loa microfilaria. Using various DNA extraction methods with dried blood spots obtained from Cameroonian subjects with parasitologically proven loiasis, the LLMF72 qPCR assay successfully estimated mf burden in 65 of 68 samples (50-96,000 mf/mL by microscopy), including all 12 samples subjected to a simple 10-minute boiling extraction. Additionally, the assay detected low-level microfilaremia among 5 of 16 samples from patients thought to be amicrofilaremic by microscopy.This novel, rapid, highly sensitive and specific qPCR assay is an important step forward in the laboratory diagnosis of L. loa infection.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Implementation of onchocerciasis elimination programmes has been delayed in Central Africa because of the risk of ivermectin-related serious adverse events (SAEs) in individuals with high <i>Loa loa</i> microfilarial densities (MFD). We developed the first statistical models enabling prediction of SAE risk in individuals with a given MFD.<h4>Methods</h4>We used individual participant data from two trials conducted in loiasis-onchocerciasis co-endemic areas in Cameroon. among the 10 506 ivermectin-treated subjects included in the analysis, 38 (0·36%) developed an ivermectin-related SAE. To predict individual-level risk of SAE, we developed mixed multivariate logistic models including subjects' sex, age, pre-treatment <i>L loa</i> and <i>Mansonella perstans</i> MFDs, and study region.<h4>Findings</h4>The models predicted that regardless of sex, about 1% of people with 20 000 <i>L loa</i> microfilariae per millilitre of blood (mf/mL), 10% of people with 50 000 mf/mL and about one third of those with 100 000 mf/mL will develop an SAE. For a given MFD, males have a three-fold higher risk of developing an SAE than females.<h4>Interpretation</h4>By enabling the prediction of post-ivermectin SAE risk in communities with known distribution of <i>L loa</i> MFDs, our results can guide decisions on the choice of ivermectin-based treatment strategies. They also predict that 37 SAEs were prevented in 2015 by using a Test-and-Treat strategy in the Okola District of Cameroon.<h4>Funding</h4>UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases; Institut de Recherche pour le Développement; Mectizan Donation Program; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation<b>.</b>
Project description:Implementation of an ivermectin-based community treatment strategy for the elimination of onchocerciasis or lymphatic filariasis has been delayed in Central Africa because of the occurrence of serious adverse events, including death, in persons with high levels of circulating Loa loa microfilariae. The LoaScope, a field-friendly diagnostic tool to quantify L. loa microfilariae in peripheral blood, enables rapid, point-of-care identification of persons at risk for serious adverse events.A test-and-not-treat strategy was used in the approach to ivermectin treatment in the Okola health district in Cameroon, where the distribution of ivermectin was halted in 1999 after the occurrence of fatal events related to L. loa infection. The LoaScope was used to identify persons with an L. loa microfilarial density greater than 20,000 microfilariae per milliliter of blood, who were considered to be at risk for serious adverse events, and exclude them from ivermectin distribution. Active surveillance for posttreatment adverse events was performed daily for 6 days.From August through October 2015, a total of 16,259 of 22,842 persons 5 years of age or older (71.2% of the target population) were tested for L. loa microfilaremia. Among the participants who underwent testing, a total of 15,522 (95.5%) received ivermectin, 340 (2.1%) were excluded from ivermectin distribution because of an L. loa microfilarial density above the risk threshold, and 397 (2.4%) were excluded because of pregnancy or illness. No serious adverse events were observed. Nonserious adverse events were recorded in 934 participants, most of whom (67.5%) had no detectable L. loa microfilariae.The LoaScope-based test-and-not-treat strategy enabled the reimplementation of community-wide ivermectin distribution in a heretofore "off limits" health district in Cameroon and is a potentially practical approach to larger-scale ivermectin treatment for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis in areas where L. loa infection is endemic. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others.).
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin is the main strategy for onchocerciasis elimination. Ivermectin is generally safe, but is associated with serious adverse events in individuals with high Loa loa microfilarial densities (MFD). Therefore, ivermectin MDA is not recommended in areas where onchocerciasis is hypo-endemic and L loa is co-endemic. To eliminate onchocerciasis in those areas, a test-and-not-treat (TaNT) strategy has been proposed. We investigated whether onchocerciasis elimination can be achieved using TaNT and the required duration.<h4>Methods</h4>We used the individual-based model ONCHOSIM to predict the impact of TaNT on onchocerciasis microfilarial (mf) prevalence. We simulated precontrol mf prevalence levels from 2% to 40%. The impact of TaNT was simulated under varying levels of participation, systematic nonparticipation, and exclusion from ivermectin resulting from high L loa MFD. For each scenario, we assessed the time to elimination, defined as bringing onchocerciasis mf prevalence below 1.4%.<h4>Results</h4>In areas with 30% to 40% precontrol mf prevalence, the model predicted that it would take between 14 and 16 years to bring the mf prevalence below 1.4% using conventional MDA, assuming 65% participation. TaNT would increase the time to elimination by up to 1.5 years, depending on the level of systematic nonparticipation and the exclusion rate. At lower exclusion rates (≤2.5%), the delay would be less than 6 months.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our model predicts that onchocerciasis can be eliminated using TaNT in L loa co-endemic areas. The required treatment duration using TaNT would be only slightly longer than in areas with conventional MDA, provided that participation is good.
Project description:Rapid and accurate tests are currently needed to identify individuals with high levels of Loa loa microfilaria (mf), so that these individuals may be excluded from mass ivermectin administration campaigns against onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis being conducted in areas where Onchocerca volvulus, Wuchereria bancrofti, and L. loa are coendemic. To address this need, colorimetric loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays targeting the L. loa-specific gene sequences LLMF72 and LLMF342 were developed for the detection and quantification of L. loa microfilaremia. Both LAMP assays were highly specific (100%) for L. loa infection compared to the absence of infection or infection with related filarial pathogens. The LLMF72-based LAMP assay showed greater analytic sensitivity (limit of detection, 0.1 pg/ml of genomic DNA [gDNA] and/or 5 mf/ml) than the LLMF342-based LAMP assay (10 pg/ml of gDNA and/or 50 mf/ml), and its analytic sensitivity was similar to that of LLMF72-based quantitative PCR (qPCR). A high level of correlation was observed between microfilaria counts as determined by LLMF72-based qPCR and time to positivity by the LAMP assay, and performance measures of sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were similar for both assays when applied to field-collected clinical samples. By simply varying the run time, the LAMP assay was able to accurately distinguish individuals at risk for serious adverse events (SAEs) after exposure to ivermectin, using thresholds of >5,000 mf/ml and >30,000 mf/ml as indicators of increasing levels of risk. In summary, LLMF72 LAMP represents a new molecular diagnostic tool that is readily applicable as a point-of-care method for L. loa microfilarial detection and quantification in resource-limited countries where L. loa infection is endemic.
Project description:Since the mid-2000s, the immunochromatographic card test (ICT), a point-of-care test for detecting Wuchereria bancrofti circulating filarial antigens (CFAs), has been the backbone for mapping and monitoring lymphatic filariasis (LF) worldwide. Recently, there have been instances in which CFA positivity has been associated with Loa loa microfilaremia. Here, we examined the association, at both the community and individual levels, between L. loa and CFA using additional diagnostic tools (quantitative polymerase chain reaction [qPCR], Og4C3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgG4 antibodies to Wb123 assays) to demonstrate the relationship between L. loa microfilaremia and ICT positivity. In May 2013, peripheral blood was collected during the day from 1,812 individuals living in southern Cameroon. ICT tests were done on the spot, and positive individuals were resampled at night. Results of qPCR and Wb123 assays concurred proving the absence of W. bancrofti infection. Og4C3 assays indicate a quantitative relationship between the level of L. loa microfilaremia and that of CFA. This was confirmed by epidemiological analyses, which reveal a strong association between L. loa microfilaremia and ICT positivity, with 50% of ICT reacting to L. loa when its microfilarial density exceeds 30,000 microfilariae/mL. At the community level, the proportion of positive ICT would exceed 2% when the prevalence of L. loa microfilaremia in the total population is above 20%. This has significant implications in terms of mapping and control of LF caused by W. bancrofti in Loa-endemic areas. Cross-reactivity of ICT with L. loa has to be considered in the context of both individual and community diagnostics.
Project description:The specificity of skin snips for onchocerciasis diagnoses is considered to be almost 100%. Our molecular methods revealed that microfilariae emerging from skin snips collected from highly microfilaremic Loa loa-infected individuals were largely misidentified as Onchocerca volvulus. This has important implications for onchocerciasis diagnostic testing in Loa-endemic areas.
Project description:Loa loa, the African eyeworm, is a major filarial pathogen of humans. Unlike most filariae, L. loa does not contain the obligate intracellular Wolbachia endosymbiont. We describe the 91.4-Mb genome of L. loa and that of the related filarial parasite Wuchereria bancrofti and predict 14,907 L. loa genes on the basis of microfilarial RNA sequencing. By comparing these genomes to that of another filarial parasite, Brugia malayi, and to those of several other nematodes, we demonstrate synteny among filariae but not with nonparasitic nematodes. The L. loa genome encodes many immunologically relevant genes, as well as protein kinases targeted by drugs currently approved for use in humans. Despite lacking Wolbachia, L. loa shows no new metabolic synthesis or transport capabilities compared to other filariae. These results suggest that the role of Wolbachia in filarial biology is more subtle than previously thought and reveal marked differences between parasitic and nonparasitic nematodes.