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June 1978

Onchocerciasis in Zaire

Arch Ophthalmol. 1978;96(6):1100. doi:10.1001/archopht.1978.03910050608034

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This is a report on the Zaire River expedition launched to celebrate the centenary of Stanley's navigation of the Congo River (now called the Zaire). A multidisciplinary approach was planned and led by F. C. Rodger, a distinguished English ophthalmologist who has had considerable previous experience in dealing with onchocerciasis. The expedition was executed during the months of the heaviest rains so that the entomologists could find breeding flies. The difficulties and hardships are well but briefly described in an appended diary of the expedition.

Other participants in the expedition included Dr Karl Maertens, the ophthalmologist of Kinshasa who has worked there for decades and is affiliated with the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. The expedition was also comprised of entomologists, parasitologists, statisticians, and support personnel.

Among the infected patients, 65% had ocular involvement, but only 10% were blind or nearly blind. Immunologic and serologic tests showed that

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