The impact of single-dose diethylcarbamazine treatment of bancroftian filariasis in a low-endemicity setting in Egypt.

Reda M R Ramzy Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Maged el-Setouhy Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Hanan Helmy Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Amr M Kandil Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Ehab S Ahmed Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Hoda A Farid Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Rifky Faris Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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Gary J Weil Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

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This study was designed to evaluate the effect of a single dose of diethylcarbamazine (DEC, 6 mg/kg) on Wuchereria bancrofti infections in a low-endemicity setting in Egypt (microfilaremia, or MF, 3.7%, median MF 34/mL). Subjects with MF or filarial antigenemia were treated and restudied 1 year later. Treatment with DEC dramatically reduced blood MF counts, with clearance in 69% of subjects. Treatment also reduced filarial antigen levels, but low clearance rates suggest that some adult worms survived treatment in most patients. Mass treatment was administered in one village; 27 months later, MF prevalence had decreased 84% (from 4.9% to 0.8%). These results show that single-dose DEC treatment can have a major effect on MF prevalence rates and levels in low-endemicity settings. Although the World Health Organization advocates repeated multidrug regimens for filariasis elimination, mass treatment with DEC alone may be sufficient to interrupt transmission in areas with low infection intensities and prevalence rates.

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