This study was conducted to investigate the low prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis in dogs in Johor Bahru as reported by veterinary practitioners, using wet blood mount, Knott's Concentration Test and two heartworm antigen test kits (IDEXX Canine SNAP® 4Dx and RapiGEN®). This study also compared the two test kits used and determined the microfilaria species. Blood were collected from 100 owned dogs and 50 stray dogs in Johor Bahru via cephalic venipuncture. A thick blood smear was done and examined for samples that were positive for microfilaria species identification. The overall prevalence of D. immitis in dogs in Johor Bahru was 1.33% (2/150) and the microfilaria identified was D. immitis. The prevalence of heartworm in owned and stray dogs in this study was 1% and 2% respectively. With only one false negative result from RapiGEN® test kit, comparing the sensitivity between the two test kits could not be achieved. The low prevalence of D. immitis found in this study confirmed anecdotal evidence that prevalence of dirofilariasis is indeed low in Johor Bahru. Additionally, we speculate that dirofilariasis in dogs might be considered as an indicator of vector availability.
Dirofilaria immitis is a parasite of domestic and wild canids and felids in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world. The canine heartworm (D. immitis) is the causative agent of canine and feline cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis. This parasite is known to cause a zoonotic disease, namely human pulmonary dirofilariasis. D. immitis is known to be endemic in several South and Southeast Asian countries (e.g. India and Malaysia), but there has previously been no information about the presence of this pathogen in Bangladesh. We present a case of canine dirofilariasis caused by D. immitis in rural southeastern Bangladesh. A male filaroid nematode (95 mm in length and 1.94 mm in width) was identified in the heart of a dog. Species classification was performed by microscopy and molecular tools. Sequence analysis revealed a 100 % identity within the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (CO1) gene to two Chinese and one Australian D. immitis samples. Usually, dogs stay outside overnight with a high risk to get infected with D. immitis via nocturnal mosquito vectors, which may lead to high prevalences of this pathogen in the canine population and thus increase the risk of human infections with this neglected parasitic disease.
The diverse clinical syndromes characterized by asthmatic symptoms, transient pulmonary infiltrates, and eosinophilia have tended to obscure the specific association of one such entity with filarial infections. Serum IgE levels were determined before and after therapy in a group of well-characterized patients with tropical eosinophilia (TE), studied earlier in Singapore. The mean serum IgE level in 14 cases before treatment with diethylcarbamazine was 2,355 ng. per milliliter, with a trend but statistically nonsignificant decrease in levels to 600-1,000 ng. occurring 8 to 12 weeks after therapy. Leukocyte and eosinophil counts showed a rapid reduction after treatment, and although mean complement-fixing (cf) titers to Dirofilarial antigen tended to decrease, they were not significantly reduced until 5 to 6 weeks. The historical development of evidence supporting the filarial etiology of TE was reviewed. Many basic questions engendered by the clinical syndrome of tropical eosinophilia make it an excellent model for study of the immunopathology of parasitic infections.