Timor Filariasis: Epidemiologic and Clinical Features in a Defined Community

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  • U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Jakarta Detachment, Department of Parasitology, University of Indonesia, School of Medicine, National Institute of Health, Research and Development, APO San Francisco 96356, Indonesia

The epidemiology of Timor filariasis was observed during a clinical and parasitologic survey of persons living in a remote village on the island of Flores, Southeast Indonesia. Infection and disease was distributed evenly throughout the community, which was in accord with the breeding and feeding habits of the only identified vector, Anopheles barbirostris. Although microfilaremia rates appeared independent of host variables of age and sex, symptoms of disease were greater among males than females, and in both sexes disease rates more than doubled between the first and second decades of life. Symptoms included recurring episodes of inguinal and femoral lymphadenitis with retrograde lymphangitis and fever, abscesses of lymph glands or vessels along the path of the great sapheneous vein and its main tributaries, and the development in a large proportion of persons of elephantiasis below the knees. Rates of patent infection and symptoms are the highest yet reported for the Timor filaria; it is a virulent parasite causing serious ill-health among the inhabitants of eastern Flores.

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