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USF Researcher Fights Worldwide Battle vs. River Blindness

Jul 17, 2013

While onchocerciasis, or “river blindness,” is virtually non-existent in the United States, the parasitic disease affects around 18 million people worldwide. Before a drug treatment was developed in the mid 1990's, over half the adult populations of some remote villages of sub-Saharan Africa reportedly contracted the disease and lost their eyesight.

Professor Thomas Unnasch, chair of the USF Department of Global Health, has been studying the second leading cause of preventable blindness since 1985, when he was doing post doctorate work at MIT and Harvard.

On this week's University Beat, Unnasch talks about the cause of river blindness and how that drug treatment, along with monitoring labs set up with the backing of groups like The Carter Center (click here to see a video on his work with the Center), the National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation, have helped make a difference in Central America, South America and Africa.