In June 2020, a door-to-door household survey was conducted in Mvolo County, an onchocerciasis-endemic area in South Sudan. A total of 15,699 individuals agreed to participate in the study. Of these, 32.1% had skin itching and 2.8% were blind. An epilepsy screening questionnaire identified 813 persons suspected of having epilepsy, with this confirmed in 798 of them. Younger age, being male, skin itching, blindness, and living in a neighbourhood or village close to the Naam River were risk factors for epilepsy.
The results in children also suggested a high ongoing Onchocerca volvulus transmission, but only 41.9% of them took ivermectin to prevent onchocerciasis during the last mass distribution.
The paper concludes that strengthening of the onchocerciasis elimination programme is urgently needed in order to prevent epilepsy in this region.
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