Filariasis presenting as isolated pleural effusion: A case report and mini review

Trop Doct. 2021 Jan;51(1):111-114. doi: 10.1177/0049475520964399. Epub 2020 Oct 27.


Isolated pleural effusion is a rare manifestation of filariasis that mimics tuberculosis, especially in endemic regions. We describe a case of lymphocytic and exudative pleural effusion showing microfilaria on pleural fluid cytology. A retrospective review of all cases of filarial pleural effusion reported after 2000 was conducted to evaluate the association between filariasis and pleural effusion as well as to screen the features that can help in accurate detection of these patients. The analysis suggested a causal association between the parasite and the development of pleural effusion with a high sensitivity of pleural fluid cytology for diagnosis.

Keywords: Microfilaria; cytology; pleural effusion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Filariasis / diagnosis
  • Filariasis / parasitology*
  • Filariasis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microfilariae / isolation & purification*
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnosis
  • Pleural Effusion / parasitology*
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis