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- Onchocerciasis is caused by filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus.
- Epidemiology: world’s second-leading cause of blindness.
- Approximately 18 million people are infected and nearly one million have been permanently blinded or suffer severe visual impairment.
- 99% of onchocerciasis cases occur in Africa.
- O. volvulus transmitted to humans by blackflies (Simulium damnosum) in areas including parts of Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
- Disease tends to be acquired by living near rivers where blackflies breed and transmit the microfilariae.