Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Professor of Neglected Tropical Diseases



+44 (0)20 7594 3295m.basanez Website




G38Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





Epidemiology and modelling of indirectly transmitted macroparasites

Motivation: Macroparasites are important causes of morbidity worldwide.  Apart from the direct effects of infection, they may also have immunosuppressive effects that render hosts vulnerable to more lethal pathogens.  Indirectly-transmitted helminth infections are particularly complex.  The lifecycle of these parasites involves more than one host for their transmission; the lifespan of the worms may be long in comparison to that of the hosts, and morbidity is associated with the intensity of infection.  All this poses challenging problems for the development of mathematical frameworks for their population dynamics and the effect on these dynamics of control interventions.

Human onchocerciasis, better known as ‘River blindness’ has been endemic in 34 tropical countries.  Although the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) in West Africa (1975-2002) has greatly improved the situation in its 11 participating countries, infection by Onchocerca volvulus (the causal agent of River Blindness) still poses an important public health problem in many areas of Africa, Yemen, and Latin America.  In Latin America, the Amazonian focus (between Venezuela and Brazil) has levels of infection prevalence, intensity, and transmission similar to those present in West Africa before the inception of OCP.  Onchocerciasis is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).  Collectively, the NTDs impose disease burdens similar to those of HIV and Malaria.  The NTDs include the filariases, the schistosomiases, the soil-transmitted helminthiases, the trypanosomiases and leishmaniases, and bacterial infections such as trachoma, among others. 




Ortu G, Assoum M, Wittmann U, et al., 2016, The impact of an 8-year mass drug administration programme on prevalence, intensity and co-infections of soil-transmitted helminthiases in Burundi, Parasites & Vectors, Vol:9, ISSN:1756-3305

O'Hanlon SJ, Slater HC, Cheke RA, et al., 2016, Model-Based Geostatistical Mapping of the Prevalence of Onchocerca volvulus in West Africa, Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol:10, ISSN:1935-2735

Ferguson NM, Cucunuba ZM, Dorigatti I, et al., 2016, Countering the Zika epidemic in Latin America, Science, Vol:353, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:353-354

Bottomley C, Isham V, Vivas-Martínez S, et al., 2016, Modelling Neglected Tropical Diseases diagnostics: the sensitivity of skin snips for Onchocerca volvulus in near elimination and surveillance settings., Parasit Vectors, Vol:9

Botto C, Basanez M-G, Escalona M, et al., 2016, Evidence of suppression of onchocerciasis transmission in the Venezuelan Amazonian focus, Parasites & Vectors, Vol:9, ISSN:1756-3305

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