"A Mathematical Model of Onchocerciasis Resistance and Treatment"
Onchocerciasis is a parasitic disease endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America that spreads from black flies to humans. The disease causes skin nodules, itching, and in severe cases, permanent blindness; Contributing to its nickname, River Blindness. The World Health Organization’s current approach to Onchocerciasis is mass drug administration of Ivermectin. The first issue concerns the prolonged use of Ivermectin may cause drug resistance which we’ve shown is likely present within the population at present. The second issue is that even without resistance eradication is still not possible and the only method of eliminating the parasite is in a joint treatment of Ivermectin and Doxycycline. It also should be said that this method isn’t perfect either since resistance is even more likely with the antibiotic Doxycycline. The goal of our project is to model the spread of Onchocerciasis with resistance, analyze the impact of possible Ivermectin resistance and figure out a treatment plan with doxycycline that can eliminate the disease without causing widespread resistance. After obtaining this goal we hope to expand the model to include Loiasis, another eye worm disease that may cause death when taking ivermectin
Additional authors: Derek Hopkins; Dr. Christopher Mitchell; Kaylee Terrell