Evaluation of Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis in Three Senegalese Districts Treated for Onchocerciasis with Ivermectin
In Africa, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis (LF) are co-endemic in many areas. Current efforts to eliminate both diseases are through ivermectin-based mass drug administration (MDA). Years of ivermectin distribution for onchocerciasis may have interrupted LF transmission in certain areas. The Kédougou region, Senegal, is co-endemic for LF and onchocerciasis. Though MDA for onchocerciasis started in 1988, in 2014 albendazole had not yet been added for LF. The objective of this study was to assess in an integrated manner the LF and onchocerciasis status in the three districts of the Kédougou region after ≥10 years of ivermectin-based MDA. The study employed an African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) onchocerciasis-related methodology. In the three districts, 14 villages close to three rivers that have Simulium damnosum breeding sites were surveyed. Convenience sampling of residents ≥5 years old was performed. Assessment for LF antigenemia by immunochromatographic testing (ICT) was added to skin snip microscopy for onchocerciasis. Participants were also tested for antibodies against Wb123 (LF) and Ov16 (onchocerciasis) antigens. In two districts, no participants were ICT or skin snip positive. In the third district, 3.5% were ICT positive and 0.7% were skin snip positive. In all the three districts, Wb123 prevalence was 0.6%. Overall, Ov16 prevalence was 6.9%. Ov16 prevalence among children 5-9 years old in the study was 2.5%. LF antigenemia prevalence was still above treatment threshold in one district despite ≥10 years of ivermectin-based MDA. The presence of Ov16 positive children suggested recent transmission of Onchocerca volvulus. This study showed the feasibility of integrated evaluation of onchocerciasis and LF but development of integrated robust methods for assessing transmission of both LF and onchocerciasis are needed to determine where MDA can be stopped safely in co-endemic areas.