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Thursday, 7 September, 2000, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
New project to eradicate river blindness

Details have been announced of a new international project being launched next year to eradicate the disease, river blindness, from a central African island.

Under the scheme, which has been discussed at the annual Science Festival in London, the island of Bioko off the coast of Equatorial Guinea will be sprayed with insecticide to eradicate the bloodsucking parasite that spreads the disease.

Scientists in London have been monitoring the island to develop a strategy to kill the blackfly without harming the rest of the island's fauna.

The project leader, Dr Rory Post, said today that he believed that spraying could start in April next year. River blindness is endemic in many parts of Africa and South America and in some regions up to fifteen percent people have gone blind because of infection with the parasite.

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