Renal Abnormalities in Microfilaremic Patients with Bancroftian Filariasis

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  • Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhaes, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hospital das Clinicas, Fiocruz, Recife, Brazil

To determine the frequency of renal abnormalities occurring with Bancroftian filarial infections and to assess the effects of treatment on such abnormalities, we initiated a prospective, hospital-based study of 20 microfilaremic and five amicrofilaremic patients with Wuchereria bancrofti infections. Thorough clinical evaluations and detailed renal assessments were made prior to treatment and at multiple time points for 60 days following a standard twelve-day course of treatment with diethylcarbamazine (DEC). There were two important findings. First, even prior to DEC treatment, almost half of the microfilaremic patients had hematuria and/or proteinuria. Second, treatment with DEC induced these same abnormalities in almost all of the remaining microfilaremic patients. However, this DEC-induced hematuria and/or proteinuria was transient, and the long-term response to DEC in all of the microfilaremic patients was resolution of the abnormal renal findings during the two-month followup period. In the amicrofilaremic study patients, no hematuria or proteinuria was detected before, during, or after treatment with DEC.