Bancroftian Filariasis in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica

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  • Costa Rica Ministry of Health, Malaria Department, San Jose, Costa Rica, Central America

In four neighborhoods of Puerto Limón, a Caribbean coastal city in a tropical rainforest area of Costa Rica, examination of 1-ml samples of night blood from 1,142 randomly selected, and 1,196 associated, persons by the Knott and filter-chamber techniques revealed microfilariae of Wuchereria bancrofti in about 3% of the 2,338 samples. The frequency of infection was higher in males (3.9%) than in females (1.9%), higher in persons of black (4.1%) than of white (1.0%) race, and highest in persons aged 10–19 (4.0%) and over 50 years (4.8%), lowest in those under 10 years (1.1%). The median microfilaria density was 3.5, the highest 45, per 20 lambdas of blood. Microfilaremia was distinctly periodic. Dissection of 663 female Culex pipiens fatigans from 42 houses of infected persons revealed filarial larvae in 25; only 1 larva was third (infective) stage. Of 64 infected persons, 11 had clinical findings suggestive of filariasis. Elephantiasis was seen in 21 others. Other forms of symptomatic filariasis without microfilaremia, though presumed to be present, were not assessed specifically.