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Epidemiology of onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy in the Mbam and Sanaga river valleys of Cameroon

Journal Contribution - e-publication

Subtitle:impact of more than 13years of ivermectin
BackgroundA high epilepsy prevalence has been reported in several onchocerciasis-endemic villages along the Mbam and Sanaga river valleys in Cameroon, including Bilomo and Kelleng. We sought to determine the prevalence of epilepsy in these two villages following more than 13years of community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI).MethodsDoor-to-door surveys were performed on the entire resident population in the villages in August 2017 and January 2018. Epilepsy was diagnosed using a 2-step approach: administration of a standardized 5-item questionnaire followed by confirmation by a neurologist. Previously published diagnostic criteria for onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE) were used. Ov16 serology was done for children aged 7-10years to assess onchocerciasis transmission. Findings were compared with previous data from these two villages.ResultsA total of 1525 individuals (1321 in Bilomo and 204 in Kelleng) in 233 households were surveyed in both villages. The crude prevalence of epilepsy was 4.6% in Bilomo (2017) and 7.8% in Kelleng (2018), including 12 (15.6% of cases) persons with epilepsy (PWE) with nodding seizures. The age and sex-standardized prevalence in Kelleng decreased from 13.5% in 2004 to 9.3% in 2018 (P<0.001). The median age of PWE shifted from 17 (IQR: 12-22) years to 24 (IQR: 20-30) years in Bilomo (P<0.001); and slightly from 24 (IQR: 14-34) years to 28 (IQR: 21.25-36.75) years in Kelleng (P=0.112). Furthermore, 47.6% of all tested children between 7 and 10years had Ov16 antibodies.ConclusionsThere is a decrease in epilepsy prevalence after 13years and more of CDTI in both villages. The age-shift observed in PWE suggests that ivermectin may prevent OAE in younger residents. Ov16 seropositivity in children indicates ongoing onchocerciasis transmission possibly due to suboptimal control measures. Our findings support the existence of OAE in Cameroon and highlight the need to strengthen onchocerciasis elimination programs.
Journal: Infectious Diseases of Poverty
ISSN: 2049-9957
Volume: 7
Publication year:2018
Authors from:Higher Education