Nodding syndrome research revisited

Melissa Krizia Vieri, Adam Hendy, John L. Mokili, Robert Colebunders

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Nodding syndrome is one of several forms of onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE) seen among children in areas formerly hyperendemic for the transmission of Onchocerca volvulus. These forms of epilepsy are highly prevalent and clustered in certain villages located close to blackfly (Diptera: Simuliidae) breeding sites. OAE presents with a wide spectrum of seizures, including generalized tonic-clonic and head nodding seizures, impaired cognitive function, growth stunting and delayed puberty. In 2014, the present authors published a perspective paper in this journal which hypothesized that nodding syndrome may be caused by either a neurotropic virus transmitted by blackflies or an endosymbiont present within the O. volvulus parasite. Seven years later, this critical review presents progress in nodding syndrome research, and assesses whether it is still plausible that a neurotropic virus or endosymbiont could be the cause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-741
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Blackflies
  • Epilepsy
  • Ivermectin
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Simulium
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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