(river blindness) is a parasitic disease,
which is endemic in Africa, and to a lesser degree in Latin America.
According to estimates of the
over 120 million people are exposed to infection with about 17 million being infected.
The most serious consequence of an infection with the parasite Onchocerca volvulus is blindness.
The control of the disease started in West Africa in the 1970's
with the Onchocerciasis Control Programme
and has been continued by the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control
In many of the countries where onchocerciasis is endemic,
the disease has hampered the cultivation of fertile regions and, therefore,
has been one of the most serious enemies for the socio-economic development in these countries.
The control programmes have achieved considerable successes.
Now it is important to develop concepts by which these successes can be maintained.
The intention of our research is to study the life-cycle and the transmission dynamics
of the parasite by mathematical models and computer simulations
which both are used for planning and optimizing intervention strategies.
In this context, mathematical and statistical methods serve as precious tools
because they can provide insights where experimental investigations are not possible.
Our work may contribute to improve the health of the people living in countries
where onchocerciasis is endemic and hence to increase the developmental potential of these countries.
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