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    266035

    Research as an aid to filariasis and onchocerciasis control.

    Nelson GS

    In: Wood C, Rue Y, ed. Health policies in developing countries. London, England, The Royal Society of Medicine, 1980. 167-72. (Royal Society of Medicine. International Congress and Symposium Series; No. 24)

    Research is the tool which can help accelerate control of filariasis including the most important, river blindness and elephantiasis. The principles for control include eliminating the vectors and changing the way of life of the people. However these methods do not take into account the different ecologies of the land, cultures of the people and technical and political differences of the endemic areas. The WHO Onchocerciasis Control Program in the Volta Basin has been highly successful, but reinvasion of vectors is possible and there is concern that unacceptable levels of pollution will occur. Several successful limited programs of control are cited, but the absence of suitable drugs to kill the parasites is evident. One of the areas of research is centering on the characterization of the parasites and their vectors. More studies of isoenzyme markers are needed to distinguish different species of filarial parasites. An important advance in the diagnosis of filariasis has been the application of membrane filtration techniques for detecting light infection. Some of the current vector research is noted. This is particularly important because the main vectors of filariasis in Africa are also the main vectors of malaria. WHO is encouraged to stimulate collaborative research in this area. Chemotherapy is currently the most encouraging aspect of research. WHO is supporting 4 major centers where old and new filaricides are being evaluated. Some experiments are indicating the possibility that resistance to the disease can be stimulated by using irradiated larvae as appear in a cat model. Testing is now underway in a bovine onchocerciasis model. The new laboratory developments must continue so they can be applied clinically.
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