Loiasis, also known as African eye worm, is caused by the parasitic worm Loa loa. It is transmitted through the repeated bites of deerflies (also known as mango flies or mangrove flies) of the genus Chrysops. The flies that transmit the parasite breed in the high-canopied rain forest of West and Central Africa. Many people do not develop any symptoms, and symptoms usually do not show up for many months after infection. If you have loiasis, you may have itchy, non-painful swellings of the body that come and go.
Sometimes treatment of loiasis can be dangerous, so your health care provider may want to talk to an expert in tropical medicine before giving you any medication to treat loiasis. If you have an eye worm, the worm can be surgically removed to provide immediate relief while your health care provider determines if it is safe to treat you with medication to kill the parasite. Removing the worm from your eye does not cure the infection, as the parasite is often found in other parts of your body. A medication called diethylcarbamazine, or DEC, can be used to kill the parasites in your body.
The highest mean microfilaria (mf) prevalence was recorded in the Meme (52.7%), followed by Mungo (41.0%) and Manyu drainage basin (33.0%). The same trend was seen with nodule prevalence between the drainage basins. Twenty-three (23/39) communities (among which 13 in the Meme) still had mf prevalence above 40%. All the communities surveyed had community microfilarial loads (CMFL) below 10 mf/skin snip (ss). The infection was more intense in the Mungo and Meme. The intensity of infection was still high in younger individuals and children less than 10 years of age.