Lymphoscintigraphic evidence of lymph vessel dilation in the limbs of children with Brugia malayi infection

J Commun Dis. 2008 Jun;40(2):91-100.


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is targeted for global elimination by the year 2020. It was earlier believed that LF is mostly a disease of adults. Recent studies indicate that in endemic countries filarial infection starts mostly in childhood even though the disease manifestations occur much later in life. The initial damage to the lymph vessels where the adult worms are lodged is dilation, thought to be irreversible even with treatment. Most of these studies relate to bancroftian filariasis. Studies that address this early pathology in brugian filariasis in humans are scarce. We report here for the first time, the lymphatic abnormalities seen on lymphoscintigraphy (LSG) in children with Brugia malayi filariasis. LSG was performed in 100 children aged between 3-15 years, who were enrolled in the study either because they were microfilaremic; had present or past filarial disease or were positive for antifilarial IgG4 antibodies. Inguinal and axillary lymph nodes were imaged in most children. Dilated lymph vessels were visualized in 80 children and this pathology was evenly distributed in all the three study groups. Lymph vessels dilation was seen even in three year old children. The implications of these findings for management of LF and control programmes are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Brugia malayi* / isolation & purification
  • Brugia malayi* / pathogenicity
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / parasitology
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / physiopathology
  • Extremities* / blood supply
  • Extremities* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymph Nodes / parasitology
  • Lymph Nodes / physiopathology
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / parasitology
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*