Filarial Infection in Costa Rica

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  • Compania Bananera de Costa Rica Hospital, Limon, Costa Rica
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A survey of 1306 persons from four areas of coastal Costa Rica has been made for the purpose of determining the presence and distribution of individuals infected with microfilariae. That these microfilariae are W. bancrefti is born out by the fact that they were definitely sheathed and of nocturnal periodicity. The identification has been verified by two outstanding authorities, Drs. Faust and Brown.

The incidence of infection ranged from 1 per cent on the Pacific Coast to 15 per cent in certain areas on the Atlantic Coast. This would definitely establish certain portions of Costa Rica as regions of moderate infestation.

Among the native born population studied, the incidence was considerably higher among the negroes than among the whites.

The age incidence among the native born individuals is as follows:

AgePercentage infected
The youngest infected native born individual was 4 years of age and the oldest was 55 years.

From our studies made throughout Costa Rica it appears that Limon was the original endemic focus of the infection. That it was originally imported into this country from Jamaica and the West Indies there is very little doubt. That with migration of infected individuals from the Limon area to other parts of Costa Rica there is likewise little doubt the infection will become endemic throughout Costa Rica unless rigid mosquito control is put into effect.

It appears probable, from the preliminary entomological studies, that Culex quinquefasciatus is the vector of filarial infection in the areas studied. This opinion is shared by Dr. Komp. However, proposed transmission experiments may incriminate other species which are known to exist in the endemic area.

Author Notes

Director of Laboratories, United Fruit Company.