Professor Colebunders has determined that the nodding syndrome is just the tip of the iceberg. Although the consequences of the nodding syndrome are quite visible to the outside world, a much larger problem lies behind this mysterious disease. Presumably more than a hundred thousand people in various African countries have developed epilepsy due to contamination spread by the blackfly. Through its bite, this fly transmits a parasitic worm (Onchocerca volvulus) that can also cause river blindness. The worm could directly or indirectly also affect the brain and cause epilepsy.
Professor Colebunders and his researchers have concluded that the nodding syndrome and other forms of epilepsy can be prevented by more effectively combating river blindness. Firstly, by administering ivermectine twice a year to the people and by extinguishing the larvae of the blackfly. Secondly, providing treatment in good time for the children who suffer from the nodding syndrome with anti-epileptic drugs can prevent the complications of this condition. With less than 10 euros a year it is possible to suppress the epileptic attacks of most of these children. Despite this low cost, it is impossible for the families to pay this amount, among other things because often there is more than one child per family suffering from this condition.
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