Ocular Dirofilariasis Case in Thailand Confirmed by Molecular Analysis to Be Caused by Dirofilaria immitis

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  • 1 Department of Ophthalmology, Chumphae Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand;
  • | 2 Department of Parasitology and Excellence in Medical Innovation, and Technology Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand;
  • | 3 Mekong Health Science Research Institute, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand;
  • | 4 Department of Otolaryngology, Chumphae Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand

A rare ocular dirofilariasis case along with the clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcome is reported. A whitish roundworm (10.6 cm long and 0.5 mm width) emerged from the pterygium, a triangular tissue growth on the cornea of the eye, of a male patient. The worm had a rounded anterior part, mouth without lips, smooth cuticular surface, and short rounded posterior tail with spicules: these features suggested that it was a male Dirofilaria sp. Molecular identification confirmed that the worm belonged to Dirofilaria immitis. This is the first molecular confirmation that D. immitis is a causative agent of ocular dirofilariasis in Thailand: dirofilariasis is a newly emerging zoonotic disease. Physicians should be alert to zoonotic filarial worms and knowledgeable about treatment of this disease.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Pewpan M. Intapan, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand. E-mail: pewpan@kku.ac.th

Financial support: This study was supported by a Distinguished Research Professor Grant from the Thailand Research Fund (Grant no. DPG6280002) and grants from the Khon Kaen University Research and Graduate studies (RP64010) and Faculty of Medicine (W. M. and O. S., grant numbers DR63101and RG63301). The fund providers had no role in study design, data collection/interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Authors’ addresses:Yuwadee Somsap, Department of Ophthalmology, Chumphae Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand, E-mail: yuwadee89@hotmail.com. Patcharaporn Boonroumkaew, Rutchanee Rodpai, Lakkhana Sadaow, Oranuch Sanpool, Wanchai Maleewong, and Pewpan M. Intapan, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand, E-mails: patcharaporn.bo@kkumail.com, rutchanee5020@gmail.com, sadaow1986@gmail.com, sanpoolor@yahoo.com, wanch_ma@kku.ac.th, and pewpan@kku.ac.th. Attawit Somsap, Department of Otolaryngology, Chumphae Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand, E-mail: attawit_152@hotmail.com.

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