BACKGROUND: Filariasis is a major public health problem in developing countries, and the diagnosis is conventionally made by demonstrating microfilariae in the peripheral blood smear. However, microfilariae have been incidentally detected in fine needle aspirates of various lesions in clinically unsuspected cases of filariasis with absence of microfilariae in the peripheral blood.
CASES: In case 1, a 21-year-old woman presented with multiple left axillary lymphadenopathy of 3 months' duration. In case 2, a 32-year-old woman presented with a thyroid nodule of 7 months' duration. Fine needle aspiration smears from both cases showed sheathed microfilariae of Wuchereria bancrofti. In both cases, microfilariae could not be demonstrated in the peripheral blood smears and the blood eosinophil counts were within normal limits. The histopathologic examination showed neither microfilariae nor adult worm.
CONCLUSION: Although microfilariae in cytologic material are considered incidental findings, these cases illustrate the value of routine fine needle aspiration cytology in the detection of asymptomatic and clinically unsuspected cases of bancroftian filariasis. Absence of microfilariae in the peripheral blood does not exdude filarial infection.
Adult worms of the rural strain of Wuchereria bancrofti in Peninsular Malaysia obtained from a successful experimental transmission in an immunosuppressed Macaca fascicularis are described for the first time. Although the worms, especially females, were slightly smaller, they were similar in morphology to those of the periodic and non-periodic W. bancrofti previously described.
The indirect hemagglutination (IHA) test done with turkey red cells was applied to 173 serum samples obtained from patients and persons exposed to Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi in endemic areas of Peninsular Malaysia. A crude extract of adult worms of the rat filaria, Breinlia booliati, was used as the antigen. When a titer of 1:16 was taken as negative, positive IHA test rates in sera from microfilaria-negative persons in endemic areas, microfilaremic cases, and patients with clinical filariasis were 13%, 75%, and 80%, respectively. Results of the IHA test correlated well with results obtained with the indirect fluorescent technique.
There has been little change since 1955 in the laboratory techniques for seeking new antifilarial compounds, although one valuable addition to laboratory study has been the experimental infection of cats with Brugia malayi.The chief drug for the treatment and control of filariasis-whether caused by Wuchereria bancrofti or by B. malayi-continues to be diethylcarbamazine, and the author reviews the reports recently published on its use. In India and China large-scale campaigns involving the use of this drug have been undertaken; and in Tahiti filariasis has been suppressed and almost eliminated. Campaigns on a smaller scale and pilot projects considered in this survey include those conducted in Pacific islands, Malaya, Ceylon, Brazil, Surinam and East and West Africa.It is generally agreed that the administration of diethylcarbamazine produces a great diminution in the microfilarial counts of those taking it, and in many persons both microfilariae and adult worms are eradicated. The difficulties which arise are due to toxic effects which occur in some recipients and which may adversely affect the acceptability of treatment.
Laboratory strain of the Malaysian Culex quinquefasciatus was susceptible to Wuchereria bancrofti. Thirty three percent of the Cx. quinquefasciatus that fed on W. bancrofti patient were infective after 12-14 days. There is a possibility for W. bancrofti to occur in the urban areas of the Malaysia in the near future.
Filariasis, a parasitic infection endemic in parts of India, Myanmar, islands of the South Pacific, West and East Africa and Saudi Arabia can be diagnosed from various types of cytopathological specimens. This case documents the detection of filarial infection from hydrocele fluid cytology in a 30-year-old Myanmar migrant worker in Malaysia.
Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori are the causative agents of lymphatic filariasis in Indonesia but in some endemic areas, B malayi is more commonly found. Diagnosis of filariasis is normally based on clinical, parasitological and immunological examinations but those methods have limitations. The discovery of monoclonal antibodies is expected to provide a new dimension to the efforts in the development of specific and sensitive immunological tests for the various stages of filariasis infection. This preliminary report, using monoclonal antibodies and dot-blot assay in human lymphatic filariasis showed that 75% of sera from microfilaremic patients with clinical signs, 40% of sera from amicrofilaraemic patients with clinical signs, 88.8% of sera from microfilaremic patients without clinical signs and 19.6% of sera from amicrofilaremic patients without clinical signs have circulating antigens.
At the end phase of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, antibody testing may have a role in decision-making for bancroftian filariasis-endemic areas. This study evaluated the diagnostic performance of BLF Rapid™, a prototype immunochromatographic IgG4-based test using BmSXP recombinant protein, for detection of bancroftian filariasis. The test was evaluated using 258 serum samples, comprising 96 samples tested at Universiti Sains Malaysia (in-house) and 162 samples tested independently at three international laboratories in the USA and India, and two laboratories in Malaysia. The independent testing involved 99 samples from Wuchereria bancrofti microfilaria or antigen positive individuals and 63 samples from people who were healthy or had other infections. The in-house evaluation showed 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. The independent evaluations showed a diagnostic sensitivity of 84-100% and 100% specificity (excluding non-lymphatic filarial infections). BLF Rapid has potential as a surveillance diagnostic tool to make "Transmission Assessment Survey"-stopping decisions and conduct post-elimination surveillance.
In the global effort to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF), rapid field-applicable tests are useful tools that will allow on-site testing to be performed in remote places and the results to be obtained rapidly. Exclusive reliance on the few existing tests may jeopardize the progress of the LF elimination program, thus the introduction of other rapid tests would be useful to address this issue. Two new rapid immunochromatographic IgG4 cassette tests have been produced, namely WB rapid and panLF rapid, for detection of bancroftian filariasis and all three species of lymphatic filaria respectively. WB rapid was developed using BmSXP recombinant antigen, while PanLF rapid was developed using BmR1 and BmSXP recombinant antigens. A total of 165 WB rapid and 276 panLF rapid tests respectively were evaluated at USM and the rest were couriered to another university in Malaysia (98 WB rapid, 129 panLF rapid) and to universities in Indonesia (56 WB rapid, 62 panLF rapid), Japan (152 of each test) and India (18 of each test) where each of the tests underwent independent evaluations in a blinded manner. The average sensitivities of WB rapid and panLF rapid were found to be 97.6% (94%-100%) and 96.5% (94%-100%) respectively; while their average specificities were both 99.6% (99%-100%). Thus this study demonstrated that both the IgG4 rapid tests were highly sensitive and specific, and would be useful additional tests to facilitate the global drive to eliminate this disease.
Seven villages in Banggi Island, Sabah, Malaysia, were surveyed four times to evaluate the roles of local mosquitoes as vectors of malaria and Bancroftian filariasis. 11 species of Anopheles were found biting man. 53.9% of the anophelines caught were An. flavirostris, 27.1% An. balabacensis, 6% An. donaldi and 4.2% An. subpictus. Infective malaria sporozoites, probably of human origin, were found in two of 336 An. flavirostris and 12 of 308 An. balabacensis. Sporozoites, probably of a non-human Plasmodium, were found in An. umbrosus. Nine of 1001 An. flavirostris and four of 365 An. balabacensis harboured L2 or L3 filarial larvae identified as those of Wuchereria bancrofti. This is the first record of An. flavirostris as a natural vector of malaria and W. bancrofti in Sabah.
Filariasis continues to be one of the endemic problems worldwide with 40% of the cases in India. We report a case of lymphatic filariasis in a 32-year old female who presented with a non-tender swelling over left upper arm. Blood sample showed no eosinophilia while the FNAC was diagnostic of W. bancrofti. Patient responded well with oral diethylcarbamazine. High index of suspicion of filariasis is indicated when dealing with a swelling of unknown cause especially in filariasis endemic areas.
The Filariasis Control Program was established more than 30 years ago in the country and the disease is still a public health problem in some states. Since 1983, a total of 17 filariasis control teams were formed throughout the country to carry out filariasis control work. The teams conduct house and population censuses, nocturnal mass blood surveys and treatment of microscopically confirmed cases. Individual case follow-up is being carried out after 3-5 months while the locality is resurveyed after about 2-3 years. During the years 1988 to 1990, there appeared to be a decreasing trend in the number of filariasis cases detected countrywide. In 1991, brugian filariasis accounted for 92% of the cases detected. The microfilaria rate (MFR) also showed a decreasing trend countrywide for the years 1988 (0.57%) to 1990 (0.35%) but there was an increase in 1991 although it remained well below the 5% MFR targeted in the program objective, In 1991, the filariasis control teams and the district multi-purpose teams collected a total of 167, 151 blood slides out of which 871 were found to be positive for microfilaria. To determine the true endemicity of filariasis in the country, the malaria district multi-purpose teams are also utilized to assist in probe surveys in new areas of the district. Two species of filarial worms, namely Brugia malayi and Wuchereria bancrofti, and the mosquito vectors belonging to the Anopheles and Mansonia genera are involved in the transmission of filariasis in Malaysia. Monkeys and domestic cats are the reservoir hosts for the subperiodic strain of B. malayi.
The genetics of human susceptibility to lymphatic filariasis, the genetic basis of filarial susceptibility in vector mosquitos, and the genetic constitution of human filarial parasites and their mosquito vectors are reviewed. It is evident that our present knowledge on the genetics of lymphatic filariasis is still very meagre. The need to study various genetic aspects of the disease is highlighted.
Entomological investigations on malaria and bancroftian filariasis transmission were carried out in the endemic area of Baram District, Sarawak. The Anopheles composition, survival and infection rates of malaria and filariasis were compared in the village and 0.5 km from the village ecotype, in forested areas. Anopheles leucosphyrus, An. barbirostris and An. donaldi are the vectors for malaria and bancroftian filariasis in both ecotypes. Biting and infection rates vary, but An. leucosphyrus differed with a peak around midnight in the forested area and soon after dusk in the village setting. The parous rate of An. leucosphyrus was significantly higher in the forest ecotype (P < 0.0001); however, the proportion of 3-parous and older was not overall higher in the forest ecotype (P = 0.68). The entomological inoculation of malaria parasites by An. leucosphyrus was comparatively higher in the forested areas (P > 0.5). The implications of malaria and filariasis transmission in the forested areas in Baram District are discussed.
Quantitative understanding of the transmission dynamics of lymphatic filarial parasites is essential for the rational planning of control strategies. One of the most important determinants of transmission dynamics is the relationship between parasite yield, the success rate of ingested microfilariae (mf) becoming infective larvae in a mosquito vector, and mf density in the source of the human blood meal. Three types of relationship have been recognized in human filaria/mosquito couples--limitation, facilitation and proportionality; facilitation has hitherto been observed only in the couple Wuchereria bancrofti/Anopheles gambiae in Burkina Faso, in experimental studies on a high density mf carrier. The present paper demonstrates facilitation in W. bancrofti/An. gambiae and W. bancrofti/An. arabiensis in lower mf density carriers in The Gambia and Tanzania, and in W. bancrofti/An. funestus in Tanzania. Facilitation was not found in An. melas in The Gambia nor in An. merus in Tanzania. Analysis of published data shows limitation at low level mf densities in W. bancrofti/Culex quinquefasciatus in Sri Lanka, and in the same couple in India. Limitation also occurs in Brugia malayi/Aedes togoi in experimental cats; proportionality occurs in B. malayi/Mansonia bonneae in Malaysia. The epidemiological significance of these host/parasite relationships is discussed, and supporting evidence for its validity is presented from the published results of large-scale control programmes.
The indirect immunofluorescence test using sonicated microfilariae of Brugia malayi has been evaluated on 173 sera from patients and persons exposed to Wuchereria bancrofti and B. malayi in endemic areas of Peninsular Malaysia. In the microfilaria-negative group, without signs and symptoms of filariasis 55/62 sera (89%) had titers of 1:16 and less. In the microfilaremic groups and in the amicrofilaremic cases with clinical filariasis, all the sera tested were positive, with the antibody titers ranging generally from 1:16 - 1:256. Cross-reaction tests were done on 16 samples of onchocerciasis sera from West Africa using sonicated antigen as well as antigen-coated CNB1-activated sepharose. Antibody titers were detected in all the sera. The usefulness of the sonicated microfilarial antigen in serodiagnosis of filariasis is discussed.