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Global Health
November 17, 2015

Mexico Says Adios to Onchocerciasis

JAMA. 2015;314(19):2014. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14869

Mexico has met World Health Organization criteria for the elimination of onchocerciasis, also called river blindness. It is the third nation to eradicate this disease after Colombia and Ecuador in 2013 and 2014, respectively (http://bit.ly/1N9t3sW).

Onchocerciasis is a debilitating parasitic disease that produces itchiness, rashes, and eye problems that lead to blindness and primarily affects poor individuals in rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. It is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus, which is spread by the bite of Simulium black flies that breed in rapid-flowing rivers and streams. An estimated 18 million people are infected and 270 000 are blinded by this infection around the world.