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Lymphacytic Filariasis

(Brugia malayi, Brugia pahangi)

Brugia malayi and Brugia pahangi are nematodes that cause lymphacytic filariasis in humans. Dogs are suspected to be reservoirs of human infection and rarely show clinical signs when infected.

Parasite: Brugia malayi / Brugia pahangi
Common name: Lymphacytic filariasis
Hosts: Humans, dogs, cats
Location in host: free in bloodstream
Distribution: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India
Transmission route: mosquitoes
Zoonotic: Yes

Distribution

The disease is limited to Southeast Asia and India.

Clinical signs

Dogs infected with Brugia malayi and Brugia pahangi are a rare occurrence and mostly remain asymptomatic. There have been limited reports of infected dogs developing lymphadenopathy and lymphedema. Studies have shown that genetically inherited traits determine the clinical outcome of infection in dogs.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Brugia malayi / pahangi can be made upon detection of the microfilariae in wet blood mounts and thin blood smears via light microscopy. Serological assays such as ELISA can also be used to confirm a diagnosis through the detection of antibodies or antigen. PCR with sequencing are useful for detection of low parasitemias and for species determination.

Treatment

Brugia infection in dogs can be treated with moxidectin, selamectin, doramectin and ivermectin.

Control

Minimizing dog contact with vectors by using topical repellants and insecticides such as collars and spot-on formulations (e.g. permethrin, flumethrin, deltamethrin).

Public health considerations

Brugia malayi and Brugia pahangi are both zoonotic and there have been several reports in humans in endemic areas.