Onchocerciasis and other Filariasis: Multidisciplinary Approach


No final desta unidade curricular os alunos devem ser capazes de: 1. Describe and compare the morphology and life cycles of parasites of the genus Onchocerca, including in comparison to other parasites of the superfamily Filarioidea, with medical and veterinary importance..
2. Explain the geographic distribution of these parasites and discuss their current epidemiological situation, in particular in relation to its vectorial transmission.
3. Describe and interpret the diseases caused by these parasites, and relate to the host immune response to the parasite as much as their endosymbiont bacteria.
4. Describe, plan and apply appropriate diagnostic methods.
5. Criticize and propose methods to control these parasitic infections.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maurício


Weekly - Se a UC for oferecida como opcional, o horário será disponibilizado no 2º semestre

Total - 29

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Babayan, S.A., Allen, J.E., Taylor, D.W. (2012) Future prospects and challenges of vaccines against filariasis. Parasite Immunol. 34(5):24353.
• Tamarozzi, F., Halliday, A., Gentil, K., Hoerauf, A., Pearlman, E., Taylor, M.J. (2011) Onchocerciasis: the role of Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts in parasite biology, disease pathogenesis, and treatment. Clin Microbiol Rev. 24(3):45968.
• Allen, J.E., Adjei, O., Bain, O., Hoerauf, A., Hoffmann, W.H., Makepeace, B.L., SchulzKey H., Tanya VN, Trees AJ, Wanji S, Taylor DW. (2008) Of mice, cattle, and humans: the immunology and treatment of river blindness. PLoS Negl Trop Dis.2(4):e217.
• Molyneux, D.H. (2005) Onchocerciasis control and elimination: coming of age in resource constrained health systems. Trends Parasitol. 21(11):5259.
• Remme, J.H. (2004) Research for control: the onchocerciasis experience. Trop Med Int Health. 9(2):24354.

Teaching method

Lectures, theoretical/practical sessions and seminars. Tutorials: general and guidance on work for assessment. Session to provide feedback to first draft of written assay.

Evaluation method

Summative assessment: Seminar, as a group, about a recent article related to topics of lectures, followed by discussion. Written individual critical analysis of the paper presented by each group, with about 2000 words (+ 200 words), excluding graphs and references. It should include analysis of methodology and results in the context of the existing literature, as well as possible alternatives and future approaches. There will be a formative evaluation session to written works.
The final grade will be distributed as follows: 10% attendance in class; 40% seminar (of which 1/3 will be peer assessment); 50% individual written analysis critical of an article.

Subject matter

I. Onchocerciasis and other filariases: parasites, transmission, epidemiology and impact on populations.
II. Wolbachia: biology and symbiotic interactions.
III. Vectors and bacteria and parasites. Diversity and interactions.
IV. Comparative pathology and therapy. Current issues and perspectives.
V. The human factor: KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice)studies in the control of filariases. Immunology and diagnosis: parasites and bacteria.
VI. Development and application of molecular markers: diagnostic and epidemiological studies.
VII. Coevolution host-parasite-symbiont.


Programs where the course is taught: