BackgroundOnchocerciasis, or river blindness, has historically been an important cause of blindness, skin disease and economic disruption in Africa and the Americas. It is caused by the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus, which is transmitted by black flies in the genus Simulium. Over the past decade, several international programs have been formed to control, or more recently eliminate onchocerciasis, using mass drug administration (MDA) of ivermectin. However, in many areas of Africa (particularly those which are endemic for the eyeworm, Loa loa, or where vector densities are very high) ivermectin MDA alone will not be sufficient to achieve elimination. In these situations, additional interventions may be necessary.
Methodology/principal findingsThe Esperanza Window trap (EWT), a simple trap originally developed to replace human landing collections for entomological surveillance of O. volvulus transmission was optimized, resulting in a 17-fold improvement in trap performance. The optimized trap was tested in trials in schools and in agricultural fields to determine if it could reduce vector biting locally. The traps resulted in a 90% reduction in biting in the school setting. In the field setting, results varied. In one location, the traps reduced biting by roughly 50%, while in a separate trial, the traps did not significantly reduce the biting rate. Examination of the two settings suggested that trap placement may be critical to their success.
Conclusions/significanceThese results suggest that the optimized EWT might be capable of reducing local vector black fly biting in areas commonly frequented by residents. Together with other recently developed methods of community directed vector control, the traps may augment ivermectin MDA, bringing the goal of onchocerciasis elimination within reach in much of Africa.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6634373 | BioStudies |