Deanna Csomo McCool | December 1, 2019
The World Health Organization has set a goal to eliminate river blindness, a neglected tropical disease found mostly in African villages near fast-flowing rivers and streams, by 2030. Spread by bites from black flies that deposit a parasitic worm under the skin, the disease can cause itching and skin infections in addition to blindness.
Current approaches to reduce transmission of river blindness include treating those rivers and streams with pesticides, as well as providing drug therapy, but neither method has come close to ending transmission of the disease.
In a new study, a University of Notre Dame research team used mathematical modeling, which showed combining mass drug distribution with removing vegetation may be the quickest way to curb transmission.
“Modeling is a powerful tool to synthesize myriad information about parasite transmission,” said lead author Edwin Michael, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. “Once we obtain a working model, we have the capability to do forecasting into the future, and we can also use the available short-term, limited data to present decision makers with new information that is not otherwise available.”
Read more here.