Zoonotic Filariasis in the Arabian Peninsula: Autochthonous Onchocerciasis and Dirofilariasis

Parsotam R. Hira Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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Adel Al-Buloushi Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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Nabila Khalid Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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Jamshaid Iqbal Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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Odile Bain Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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Mark L. Eberhard Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait; Al-Bahar Eye Hospital, Kuwait; Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Parasitologie Comparée et Modèles Expérimentaux, Paris, France; Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia

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We describe zoonotic filariasis in two patients from Kuwait; one with Onchocerca spp. and one with Dirofilaria spp. Case 1, a 12-year-old Kuwaiti woman who had visited Saudi Arabia, initially reported ocular symptoms. She later reported a nodule that appeared in the suprapubic area, which was resected. A coiled worm was observed in histologic sections and was identified as an Onchocerca spp., but could not be definitively identified. This patient represents the 15th reported case of zoonotic onchocerciasis in a country that is not endemic for human onchocerciasis. Case 2, a 34-year-old Indian woman from Kuwait City, reported a moving object in her left eye. A live worm was extracted and tentatively identified as an immature female Dirofilaria (Nochtiella) repens. These two cases bring to four the number of reports of zoonotic filariasis in the Arabian Peninsula and suggest that zoonotic filariasis is not uncommon in the Arabian Gulf region.

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  • 6

    Pampiglione S, Rivasi F, 2000. Human dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria (Nochtiella) repens: an update of world literature from 1995 to 2000. Parassitologia 42 :231–254.

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    Simon F, Lopez-Belmonte J, Marcos-Atxutegi C, Morchon R, Martin-Pacho JR, 2005. What is happening outside North America regarding human dirofilariasis? Vet Parasitol 113 :181–189.

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