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Dreyer G, Medeiros Z, Netto MJ, Leal NC, de Castro LG, Piessens WF.

ACUTE ATTACKS IN THE EXTREMITIES OF PERSONS LIVING IN AN AREA ENDEMIC FOR BANCROFTIAN FILARIASIS: DIFFERENTIATION OF TWO SYNDROMES.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1999 Jul-Aug;93(4):413-7.

ABSTRACT

The natural history of lymphatic disease in human filariasis remains unclear, but recurrent episodes of acute lymphangitis are believed to constitute a major risk factor for the development of chronic lymphoedema and elephantiasis. Prospective analysis of 600 patients referred to the filariasis clinic of the Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhaes/FIOCRUZ in Recife, Brazil, indicated that 2 distinct acute syndromes accompanied by lymphangitis occur in residents of this filariasis-endemic area. One syndrome, which we call acute filarial lymphangitis (AFL), is caused by the death of adult worms. It is relatively uncommon in untreated persons, usually is asymptomatic or has a mild clinical course, and rarely causes residual lymphoedema. The second syndrome, of acute dermatolymphangioadenitis (ADLA), is not caused by filarial worms per se, but probably results from secondary bacterial infections. ADLA is a common cause of chronic lymphoedema and elephantiasis in Recife as well as in other areas of Brazil where lymphatic filariasis is not present. The syndromes of AFL and ADLA can be readily distinguished from each other by simple clinical criteria.