• Onchocerciasis, is an eye and skin disease, commonly known as “river blindness”, and is caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus.
  • It is transmitted to humans through exposure to repeated bites of infected blackflies of the genus Simulium which breed mostly in areas of fast-flowing rivers and streams, often around remote villages and close to fertile land where people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
  • Symptoms include severe itching, disfiguring skin conditions, and visual impairment, including permanent blindness. 
  • More than 99% of infected people live in 31 African countries.