Prevention & Control


There are no vaccines or medications available to prevent becoming infected with O. volvulus. The best prevention efforts include personal protection measures against biting insects. This includes wearing insect repellant such as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) on exposed skin, wearing long sleeves and long pants during the day when blackflies bite, and wearing permethrin- treated clothing. For a description of the CDC’s information for preventing insect bites, refer to CDC’s Yellow Book. Mass distribution of ivermectin, donated by Merck & Co., Inc., to all people living in many areas where O. volvulus is found, is being given to control onchocerciasis.

Page last reviewed: September 9, 2019