Human filariasis caused by Brugia malayi is still a public health problem in many countries of Asia including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The World Health Organization (WHO) has targeted to eliminate filariasis by the year 2020 by Mass annual single dose Diethylcarbamazine Administration (MDA). Results of the MDA programme after the first phase was less satisfactory than expected. Malayan filariasis caused by B. malayi is endemic in the south of Thailand where domestic cat serves as the major reservoir host. There is no report about the occurrence of B. malayi in dogs. The present work was carried out to find out the incidence of microfilariasis in dogs and also to detect the presence of human filarial infection in dogs, if any. One hundred dogs above 6 months of age presented to the veterinary college Hospital, Mannuthy, Kerala, with clinical signs suggestive of microfilariasis - fever, anorexia, conjunctivitis, limb and scrotal oedema - were screened for microfilariae by wet film examination. Positive cases were subjected to Giemsa staining, histochemical staining and molecular techniques. Results of the study showed that 80% of dogs had microfilariasis; out of which 20% had sheathed microfilaria. Giemsa and histochemical staining character, PCR and sequencing confirmed it as B. malayi. High prevalence of B. malayi in dogs in this study emphasized the possible role of dogs in transmission of human filariasis.
The blood filtration method was used as the gold standard to determine the detection level of simple blood-spot sampling and nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Brugia malayi. Of 100 samples, 48 were filtration-positive. Of these, 26 had microfilaria counts that were low enough (<1-29 microfilariae/ml) to accurately assess the limit of detection by nested-PCR. Nested-PCR consistently detected B. malayi DNA in samples with > or = 10 microfilariae/ml. Post-filtration, microfilaria-depleted, blood-spots from microfilaria-positive samples were screened by nested-PCR and B. malayi specific 'free' DNA was detected in 51.7% of these samples. There was no evidence for 'free' DNA in microfilaria-negative individuals from this endemic community.
A total of 1,134 finger-pricked blood samples were collected from residents of Setiu, Terengganu. A drop of blood was used to make thick blood smear and about four drops were used for obtaining serum. The smears were stained and examined by the State Vector Control Unit in Kuala Terengganu, while the serum samples were tested for specific IgG4 antibodies to a novel recombinant antigen using Brugia-Elisa. Prevalence of filariasis in these areas were found to be 0.26% (3/1,134) using thick blood smear examination and 2.47% (28/1,134) using Brugia-Elisa, thus demonstrating the greater sensitivity of the latter test. In addtion, Brugia-Elisa showed a high level of specificity (97.8%, 1,106/1,131) when compared to thick blood smear examination.
Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) is considered to be a variant of human filarial infection. The pulmonary manifestations of TPE have been well described. Extra-pulmonary features of the disease, although not commonly seen, have been reported previously. A 9-year-old Malay girl with a history of recurrent cough and wheezing was admitted because of cardiac failure. Physical examination revealed a very sick girl with tachypnoea, central cyanosis, finger clubbing, elevated jugular venous pulse, generalized crackles and rhonchi in the chest, a loud second heart sound and hepatosplenomegaly. A chest radiograph showed cardiomegaly and right pleural effusion. Laboratory investigations revealed hypochromic, microcytic anaemia with persistent blood eosinophilia (absolute eosinophil counts varied from 1.9 to 5.5 x 10(9)/1). The ELISA test for antifilarial IgG antibodies was strongly positive. She responded promptly to treatment with diethylcarbamazine. In summary, this is a patient with TPE who presented with cor pulmonale, probably due to late-stage interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. In order to prevent the long term morbidity of cardiorespiratory disability, the early signs of TPE should be recognized and the infection treated.
A polymerase chain reaction assay based on the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA) has been developed to detect Brugia malayi infection in an area of low endemicity in Malaysia. Blood samples from 239 subjects were tested: 192 amicrofilaraemic individuals, 14 microfilaraemic persons and 3 chronic elephantiasis cases from endemic areas and 30 city-dwellers (non-endemic controls). PCR products were examined by ELISA and Southern hybridization. In the PCR-ELISA, digoxigenin-labelled PCR products were hybridized to a biotin-labelled probe. This was followed by incubation in streptavidin-coated microtitre wells and detection using anti-digoxigenin-peroxidase and ABTS [2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid)]. All microfilaraemic samples were positive by PCR-ELISA and Southern hybridization and all samples from non-endemic subjects and chronic elephantiasis patients were negative. The PCR-ELISA detected 12 times as many B. malayi infections as did thick blood film examination. Nineteen of the 194 samples from the endemic area gave positive results by both PCR-ELISA and Southern hybridization, and an additional 5 samples were positive by PCR-ELISA only. The PCR-ELISA was specific and sensitive, detected more infections, and was more reproducible than Southern hybridization.
Microscopic detection of active phase of lymphatic filariasis is indicated by the presence of microfilaria in whole blood. This method is not sensitive and requires relatively large amount of blood sample. PCR allows very sensitive detection of the parasite DNA using a smaller amount of blood; and the use of dried blood spots facilitates sample transportation. Nevertheless, limited studies have been reported on PCR using dried blood spot for detection of Brugia malayi. In this study, we investigated the effects of concentrating whole blood genomic DNA sample and the amplification methods [conventional PCR (C-PCR) and real-time PCR] on the detection of B. malayi DNA from dried blood spots from a very low endemic area in Malaysia. Both C-PCR and real-time PCR detected 2 out of 18 (11%) samples as positive from non-concentrated genomic DNA preparations. After the DNA samples were pooled and concentrated, both C-PCR and realtime PCR detected B. malayi DNA amplifications in 7 out of 18 (39%) samples. However one sample which showed faint band in C-PCR was detected as highly positive in real-time PCR. In conclusion, both C-PCR and real-time PCR using dried blood spots from a low endemic area demonstrated equal sensitivity for detection of B. malayi DNA.
We conducted a field study of a rapid test (Brugia Rapid) for detection of Brugia malayi infection to validate its sensitivity and specificity under operational conditions. Seven districts in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, which are endemic for brugian filariasis, were used to determine the test sensitivity. Determination of specificity was performed in another state in Malaysia (Bachok, Kelantan) which is non-endemic for filariasis but endemic for soil-transmitted helminths. In Sarawak both the rapid test and thick blood smear preparation were performed in the field. The rapid test was interpreted on site, whereas blood smears were taken to the district health centres for staining and microscopic examination. Sensitivity of Brugia Rapid dipstick as compared with microscopy of thick blood smears was 87% (20/23; 95% CI: 66.4-97.2) whereas the specificity was 100% (512/512). The lower sensitivity of the test in the field than in laboratory evaluations (> or =95%), was probably due to the small number of microfilaraemic individuals, in addition to difficulties in performing the test in remote villages by field personnel. The overall prevalence of brugian filariasis as determined by the dipstick is 9.4% (95% CI: 8.2-0.5) while that determined by microscopy is 0.90% (95% CI: 0.5-1.3) thus the dipstick detected about 10 times more cases than microscopy. Equal percentages of adults and children were found to be positive by the dipstick whereas microscopy showed that the number of infected children was seven times less than infected adults. The rapid dipstick test was useful as a diagnostic tool for mapping and certification phases of the lymphatic filariasis elimination programme in B. malayi-endemic areas.
A multicentre evaluation of the Brugia Rapid dipstick test was performed using 1263 serum samples in four international laboratories, i.e. T.D. Medical College (TDMC, India), National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA), Swiss Tropical Institute (STI, Switzerland) and Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC, Netherlands). In comparison with microscopy, the dipstick demonstrated sensitivities of 97.2% (70 of 72) at TDMC, 91.6% (175 of 191) at LUMC and 100% (six of six) at STI. Sera of chronic patients showed a positivity rate of 11.3% (19 of 168) and 61.2% (71of 116) at TDMC and LUMC, respectively. All 266 sera of non-endemic normals from STI, NIH and LUMC tested negative with the dipstick. At LUMC, sera of 'endemic normals' (amicrofilaraemics with no clinical disease) from an area with approximately 35% microfilaria positivity showed 60.8% positive results (31 of 51), thus demonstrating the likelihood of many cryptic infections occurring in this population. Specificities of the test with Onchocerca volvulus sera were 98.8% (80 of 81) and 100% (10 of 10) at the NIH and STI, respectively; while specificity with Loa loa sera at the NIH was 84.6% (44 of 52). At the STI, the dipstick test also demonstrated 100% specificity when tested with 75 sera from various protozoan and helminthic infections.
Brugian filariasis infects 13 million people in Asia. The routine prevalence survey method using night thick blood smear is not sensitive enough to reflect the actual infection prevalence. In 1997-2001, only three microfilaraemic cases (of 5601 individuals screened; 0.05%) were reported in Pasir Mas, a district in Kelantan (Malaysia), which shares a border with Thailand. We therefore investigated the infection prevalence in this district by employing a sensitive and specific serological assay (Brugia-Elisa). This test is based on detection of specific IgG4 antibody against a Brugia malayi recombinant antigen. A total of 5138 children, aged 7-12 years, from 16 primary schools, were tested. Eighteen pupils in eight schools, located in five subdistricts, tested positive, giving an overall prevalence rate of 0.35%. Infection in these children is significant as they represent more recent cases. These subdistricts should be included in the national filariasis elimination programme.
In the absence of a suitable Brugia malayi antigen detection assay, PCR remains one of the more sensitive alternatives to Giemsa-stained thick blood films for B. malayi detection. The need for refrigerated storage and transportation of blood has limited the use of PCR for large-scale epidemiology studies in remote endemic areas. Here we report simple finger-prick blood-spot collection, a one-tube DNA template extraction method and the development of a B. malayi-specific nested PCR assay. The assay was tested on 145 field samples and was positive for all 30 microscopy-positive samples and for an additional 13 samples which were microscopy-negative.
A total of 753 serum samples from 6 institutions in 3 countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and India) were used to evaluate an immunochromatographic rapid dipstick test, Brugia Rapid, for diagnosis of Brugia malayi infection. The samples comprised sera from 207 microfilaria-positive individuals and 546 individuals from filaria non-endemic areas. The latter consisted of 70 individuals with soil-transmitted helminth infections, 68 with other helminth infections, 238 with protozoan infections, 12 with bacterial and viral infections and 158 healthy individuals. The dipstick is prepared with a goat anti-mouse antibody control line and a B. malayi recombinant-antigen test line. First, the dipstick is dipped into a well containing diluted patient serum, thus allowing specific anti-filarial antibody in the serum to react with the recombinant antigen. Then the dipstick is placed into an adjacent well containing reconstituted anti-human IgG4-gold. After 10 min, development of 2 red-purplish lines denotes a positive result and one line indicates a negative reaction. The overall results of the evaluation showed 97% sensitivity, 99% specificity, 97% positive predictive value and 99% negative predictive value. Brugia Rapid is thus a promising diagnostic tool for detection of B. malayi infection, and would be especially useful for the brugian filariasis elimination programme.
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.
BmR1 recombinant antigen has previously been shown to demonstrate high sensitivity and specificity in the serological diagnosis of brugian filariasis in humans. In this study, the pattern of recognition of antibody to BmR1 during Brugia malayi infection was investigated by employing Meriones unguiculatus as the experimental model. Thirty two gerbils were infected subcutaneously with 120 L(3); and two control groups each comprising 25 animals were employed. ELISA using BmR1 was used to detect filaria-specific IgG antibodies elicited by the gerbils; using sera collected from the day 1 until day 150 post-inoculation (p.i.). The results showed that BmR1 detected B. malayi infection in gerbils harboring adult worms irrespective of the presence of circulating microfilaria, and was exemplified by positive ELISA results in nine a microfilaraemic animals that harbored live adult worms. The initial time of the antibody recognition was at day 8 p.i. and the antibody titre showed some correlation with adult worm burden.