oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Filariasis: Dipetalonema Perstans infections in Rhodesia

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



1. Present information on the distribution of D. perstans in Rhodesia appears to indicate that the parasite is restricted to the basin of the Zambesi River system in forest or semiforest areas (but excluding mopane forests) of the middle-veld of Rhodesia in places where surface water is plentiful. Its occurrence is less frequent in the lowveld and it is absent from Highveld. 2. Six diagnostic methods were compared during a survey of people in an area of known high prevalence of D. perstans. The use of a skin test antigen and the finding of the condition of eosinophilia were not found to be reliable diagnostic techniques. The most reliable methods for detection of the microfilariaein the blood were shown to be those of the ""buffy-coat"" and ""Knott concentration"" techniques. 3. The majority of cases of D. perstans infections are symptomless, but where symptons do occur the most frequent complaints are extreme tiredness, pains in the joints and neurological symptoms. No physical signs have been consistently associated with the infections although oedema of the lower extremities was not uncommon. Treatment with two or even three courses of diethylcarbamazine has proved disappointing. The insect vector is presumed to be a species of Culicoides of which many species occur in Rhodesia, but this has yet to be demonstrated. Transmission of the parasite is limited by unknown factors, of which an immune reaction and a limited host-vector contact are possibilities. Suggested protective measures and lines for future research are indicated.

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