Diagnosis of filariasis: A case report of a reemerging neglected tropical disease

Authors: Jimoh Olanrewaju, Aliyu Shamsudin, Yusuf M. Shamsuddeen, Alfred Orinya, Kashetu Bello, Aminu I. Musa, Auwal Usman, Gideon I. Joseph, Emmanuel O. Balogun

Ger. J. Microbiol. 2024. vol. 4, Iss. 1 pp:25-31
Doi: https://doi.org/10.51585/gjm.2024.1.0031

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Abstract:

Filariasis is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) of humans caused by the helminthic filarial species Wuchereria (W.) bancrofti, Brugia (B.) timori, and B. malayi. Diverse species of mosquitoes transmit the microfilariae of these worms to cause filaria infection, with the disease presenting classical clinical manifestations such as lymphedema, adenolymphangitis, and hydrocele, which result in permanent disfigurement and psychosocial and economic stigmatization. These sequelae necessitate the need for proper identification and characterization of the etiological agent for therapy and prevention. In this study, we report a case of unilateral lymphedema in a 28-year-old gateman/farmer from the Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria. Microscopy of the patient’s blood sample demonstrated the presence of microfilariae, leading to PCR characterization to be W. bancrofti. Upon diagnosis, the patient was treated with tablets of doxycycline 200 mg daily and albendazole 200 mg bid for six weeks, followed by a single dose of ivermectin 150 mg/kg (15 mg) at the 4th week of initiating treatment. This treatment regimen was complemented by a combination of bed rest, use of compression bandage, and limb elevation at night, resulting in remarkable improvement of the patient’s health after six weeks. In conclusion, lymphatic filariasis diagnosis was microscopically confirmed by the demonstration of microfilaria in the blood film obtained at night, leading to molecular characterization by PCR to be W. bancrofti. This is a workup for treating filarial infections in patients with unilateral leg swelling and a history of living in or traveling to endemic areas. This should also be a wake-up call to policymakers and practitioners regarding the possible recrudescence of filariasis in Nigeria.

Keywords:

Case report, NTDs, Filaria, Lymphedema, Nigeria, Recrudescence

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