Parasitological, serological and clinical evidence for high prevalence of podoconiosis (non‐filarial elephantiasis) in Midakegn district, central Ethiopia
Objective To determine whether the elephantiasis in Midakegn district, central Ethiopia, is filarial or non‐filarial (podoconiosis) using serological, parasitological and clinical examinations, and to estimate its prevalence.
Methods At house‐to‐house visits in 330 randomly selected households, all household members who had elephantiasis were interviewed and clinically examined at the nearby health centre to confirm the presence of elephantiasis, check the presence of scrotal swelling and rule out the other causes of lymphoedema. A midnight blood sample was obtained from each participant with elephantiasis for microscopic examination of Wuchereria bancrofti microfilaria. A daytime blood sample was obtained from half of the participants for serological confirmation using the immuno‐chromatographic test card.
Results Consistent with the features of podoconiosis, none of the elephantiasis cases had consistently worn shoes since childhood; 94.3% had bilateral swelling limited below the level of the knees; no individual had thigh or scrotal elephantiasis; parasitological test for microfilariae and serological tests for W. bancrofti antigen were negative in all samples. The prevalence of the disease was 7.4% and it peaked in the third decade of life, the most economically active age.
Conclusion Midakegn District has a high prevalence of podoconiosis and no filarial elephantiasis. Prevention, treatment and control of podoconiosis must be among the top priorities of public health programmes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia 2: Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA 3: Microbial, Cellular and Molecular Biology Program Unit, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Publication date: June 1, 2012