Common Misconception About Onchocerciasis

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A common misconception regarding onchocerciasis is that the disease can be contracted through physical contact. In many communities, contracting the disease meant social destruction. More specifically, those with the disease were often viewed as “imperfect” and are an “abnormality” to their community (Adeoye et al, 2010). Interaction with them are looked down upon and deliberately avoided. In fact, many infected individuals were observed to enter self-imposed isolation. This causes a lot of problems for the infected: depression due to isolation due as well as employment and occupational difficulties. As mentioned earlier, onchocerciasis is the world’s second leading cause of blindness in preventable infectious diseases (WHO, 2014). People that are blind or partially blind are unable to find or keep jobs, and rely heavily on their family for income, food and shelter. According to WHO 2013 report, the loss in socioeconomic development due to onchocerciasis was thirty million U.S. dollars in the early 1970s. It led to immediate response from the west and the implementation of the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP) in 1974. …show more content…

In fact, 93 percent of all cases of nodding syndrome are from areas where onchocerciasis is prevalent (WHO, Feb. 14, 2012). Nodding syndrome stunts mental growth in children between five and 15 years old, and lead to disturbed levels of consciousness and cognitive impairment later in life. In rare cases, some with nodding syndrome may even develop epilepsy. The affected individuals were often seen tied around trees, many became victims of criminal acts. Furthermore, onchocerciasis also promote other diseases by degrading the skin of individuals to such an extent that injections cannot be administered (WHO,

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