Filariasis in Colombia: Prevalence and Distribution of Mansonella Ozzardi and Mansonella (=Dipetalonema) Perstans Infections in the Comisaría Del Guainía

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  • International Collaboration in Infectious Diseases Research, Centro Internacional de Investigaciones Medicas, Tulane University—COLCIENCIAS, Hospital Inírida, Puerto Inírida, Apartado Aéreo 5390, Cali, Colombia

A survey was conducted to determine the prevalence and distribution of filarial infections among the inhabitants of Comisaría del Guainía. Approximately 25% of the 604 individuals bled (Knott's sample) harbored microfilariae; more men (29.7%) were infected than women (23.7%); approximately 6% were infected with Mansonella (=Dipetalonema) perstans, 13% with Mansonella ozzardi, and 7% with both filariae. Mansonella ozzardi was more common in men than in women, and its prevalence increased with age in both sex groups; it was detected in most of the resident ethnic groups but was most common in the Puinave and the Curripaco Indians, and appeared to be distributed throughout the Comisaría. The prevalence of M. perstans was essentially the same in men as in women, and in age-groups from the 2nd to 4th decade, although its tendency to increase with age was not as marked as in M. ozzardi infections. Mansonella perstans appeared to be limited to the central and southern regions of the Comisaría, was found principally in the Curripaco Indians, and was detected in settlements situated within the drainage of both the Río Orinoco and the upper Río Negro. Approximately 9% of the white settlers (colonos) harbored M. ozzardi, and 5% M. perstans. These results indicate that both M. perstans and M. ozzardi are endemic in the Comisaría del Guainía, and suggest that the focus of M. perstans may extend further into the South American continent along the Río Negro and its tributaries.

Author Notes

Present address: School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane Medical Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.

Present address: Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Departamental del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

Present address: Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital General Universitario de la Samaritana, Bogotá, Colombia.

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