Would ivermectin for malaria control be beneficial in onchocerciasis-endemic regions?

Joseph Nelson Siewe Fodjo, Marina Kugler, An Hotterbeekx, Adam Hendy, Jean Pierre Van Geertruyden, Robert Colebunders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: There is accumulating evidence supporting the use of ivermectin as a malaria control tool. Recent findings from the repeat ivermectin mass drug administrations for control of malaria trial demonstrated a reduced incidence of malaria in villages which received repeated ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA; six doses) compared to those who had only one round of ivermectin. Several other studies investigating the benefits of ivermectin for malaria purposes are ongoing/planned. Main text: While ivermectin MDA offers promising perspectives in the fight against malaria, we highlight the added benefits and anticipated challenges of conducting future studies in onchocerciasis-endemic regions, which are confronted with a substantial disease burden including onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy. Increasing the frequency of ivermectin MDA in such places may reduce the burden of both malaria and onchocerciasis, and allow for more entomological investigations on both the Anopheles mosquitoes and the blackflies. Upfront, acceptability and feasibility studies are needed to assess the endorsement by the local populations, as well as the programmatic feasibility of implementing ivermectin MDA several times a year. Conclusions: Onchocerciasis-endemic sites would doubly benefit from ivermectin MDA interventions, as these will alleviate onchocerciasis-associated morbidity and mortality, while potentially curbing malaria transmission. Involving onchocerciasis programs and other relevant stakeholders in the malaria/ivermectin research agenda would foster the implementation of pluri-annual MDA in target communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
JournalInfectious Diseases of Poverty
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 23 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ivermectin
  • Malaria
  • Mass drug administration
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Vector control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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