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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-68  

Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens in southern India

1 Department of Microbiology, KVG Medical College and Hospital, Sullia, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pathology, KVG Medical College and Hospital, Sullia, Karnataka, India

Date of Acceptance24-Jan-2012
Date of Web Publication16-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Subbannayya Kotigadde
Department of Microbiology, KVG Medical College and Hospital, Sullia - 574 327, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5070.97247

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Dirofilariasis is primarily confined to animals such as dogs, cats, foxes and raccoons. Human dirofilariasis is an accidental zoonotic infection acquired through mosquitoes. Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens though endemic in Kerala, reports from Karnataka state are rare. We report a case of solitary subcutaneous dirofilariasis of the eyelid due to D. repens in a 47-year-old woman. She presented with periorbital edema. The swelling was soft, cystic with associated tenderness. A thin, white worm was noticed in the lesion and was removed by traction which was subsequently identified to be D. repens.

Keywords: Dirofilaria repens , dirofilaria, periorbital edema

How to cite this article:
Kotigadde S, Ramesh SA, Medappa KT. Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens in southern India. Trop Parasitol 2012;2:67-8

How to cite this URL:
Kotigadde S, Ramesh SA, Medappa KT. Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens in southern India. Trop Parasitol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Apr 1];2:67-8. Available from: https://www.tropicalparasitology.org/text.asp?2012/2/1/67/97247

   Introduction Top

Dirofilaria are natural filarial parasites of dogs, cats, foxes and raccoons. [1] There are 40 recognized species of . [2] Human dirofilariasis is an accidental infection caused by species of such as immitis, tenuis and repens.[3] It is a zoonotic infection seen worldwide. [4] Mosquitoes belonging to the genera Culex, Aedes, Armigeres and Anopheles are vectors for the parasite. They take up microfilaria larva (mf-L1) while feeding on an infected host. In the malphigian tubules of the vector, the mf-L1 develop into infective 3 rd stage microfilaria (mf-L 3) which subsequently migrate through the body cavity to the proboscis of the vector. Transmission of the infective stage takes place when the potential vector bites dogs or other hosts including humans. [1] But for a solitary case of dirofilariasis due to D. tenuis[4] and a case due to D. repens, [5] dirofilariasis in humans are rarely reported from Karnataka state, South India. We report here a case of subcutaneous human dirofilariasis of the eyelid in a 47 years old woman caused by D. repens.

   Case Report Top

A 47-year-old female from rural South Kanara district of Karnataka state, came to KVG Medical College Hospital, Sullia with complaints of pain and swelling of one week duration in the left eyelid. The patient was of moderate build and well nourished, nondiabetic, nonhypertensive and afebrile. Hematological and other laboratory findings were within normal limits. The patient had no human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. She presented with periorbital oedema. The swelling was soft, cystic with associated tenderness. A provisional clinical diagnosis of abscess was made and was aspirated. During the procedure a worm was noticed in the lesion which was subsequently removed by gentle traction.

The worm was thin, white and 10 cm long and 0.6 mm wide. Microscopic examination under 40× magnifications of the outer surface of the nematode's cuticle revealed longitudinal beaded ridges and transverse striations [Figure 1]. Based on size and cuticular features, the worm was identified as D. repens. [6] Blood examination of the patient did not reveal microfilaraemia and the fluid aspirate did not contain any microfilaria. The patient did not come for a subsequent follow up and could not be contacted.
Figure 1: Microphotograph showing longitudinal beaded ridges and transverse striations onthe cuticle of the worm (×40)

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   Discussion Top

Human dirofilariasis caused by D. repens have been reported from Asia, Africa and Europe. [7] A few cases of D. repens human infection have been reported from India too. [1],[5],[7],[8] While adjacent Kerala state is considered to be endemic for human dirofilariasis, reports from Karnataka state is limited. [4],[5] Though D. repens human infection is common in India, cases due to D. immitis[9] and D. tenuis[4] also have been reported. Occurrence of D. tenuis infection in India is in contrast to the general belief of most parasitologists that D. tenuis is restricted to USA. [8]

In most cases identification of the worm to species level is based on the phenotype of the worm. Analysis of the highly conserved mitochondrial 12 s RNA gene may be important to find strain variations of D. repens isolates. [10]

Subcutaneous dirofilariasis is mostly caused by D. repens in Asia. It is suggested that patients usually present with a single migratory nodule which may or may not be tender. [8] Ophthalmic involvement may be periorbital, subconjunctival, or intraocular. Such lesions are usually associated with moderate to severe inflammation. In the present case the worm was located in the eyelid and there was pain, periorbital swelling and tenderness.

Diagnosis of dirofilariasis in humans remains difficult as the symptoms exhibited by the patient are varying and nonspecific depending upon the location of worm. [1] Serologic results are of little value because of the lack of sensitivity and specificity. Identification of the worm in biopsy specimens or extraction of the worm from the lesion confirms diagnosis. [6] No chemotherapeutic agents are used since they appear to be ineffective. Surgical removal of the worm is the treatment of choice and its identification is essential for documentation to avoid treatment with antihelminthics. Cases of human dirofilariasis are under reported because either most remain undiagnosed, or unpublished or unidentified because of lack of awareness among the treating clinicians. Documentation by publishing the matter is important to understand the actual prevalence of human dirofilariasis in different regions of the world.

   References Top

1.Sabu L, Devada K, Subramanian H. Dirofilariosis in dogs and humans in Kerala. Indian J Med Res 2005;121:691-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Sekar HS, Srinivasa H, Battu RR, Mathai E, Shariff S, Macaden RS. Human ocular dirofilariasis in Kerala, Southern India. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2000;43:77-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Pampiglione S, Trotti GC, Rivasi F. Human dirofilariasis due to (Nochtiella) repens: A review of world literature. Parassitologia 1995;37:149-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Bhat KG, Wilson G, Mallya S. Human dirofilariasis. Indian J Med Microbiol 2003;21:223.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Nadgir S, Tallur SS, Mangoli V, Halesh LH, Krishna BV. Subconjunctival dirofilariasis in India. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2001;32:244-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Garcia LS. Diagnostic Medical Parasitology. Ch. 12, 5 th ed. Washington: ASM Press; 2007. p. 348-51.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Singh R, Shwetha JV, Samantaray JC, Bando G. sis: A rare case report. Indian J Med Microbiol 2010;28:75-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.Padmaja P, Kanagalakshmi, Samuel R, Kuruvilla PJ, Mathai E. Subcutaneous dirofilariasis in southern India: A case report. Ann Trop Med Parasitol 2005;99:437-40.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Badhe BP, Sane SY. Human pulmonary dirofilariasis in India: A case report. J Trop Med Hyg 1989;92:425-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Poppert S, Hodapp M, Krueger A, Hegasy G, Niesen WD, Kern WV, et al. repens infection and concomitant meningoencephalitis. Emerg Infect Dis 2009;15:1844-6.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1]

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