Introduction: Dirofilaria repens is a vector-borne filaroid helminth of carnivorous animals, primarily domesticated dogs. Humans are considered to be accidental hosts in which D. repens rarely reach sexual maturity but induce local inflammation, mainly in subcutaneous and ocular tissues.
Methods: In the current study, we present the detection of multiple adults of D. repens, endosymbiont Wolbachia sp. and microfilariae by molecular analysis in peripheral tissues and bloodstream of a human host. A subsequent meta-analysis of published literature identified 21 cases of human infection with adult D. repens producing microfilariae.
Results: Within the study population, there were 13 (59.09%) males, eight (36.36%) females and, in one (4.55%) case, sex was not reported. A total of 11 (50.00%) cases had subcutaneous dirofilariasis, six (27.27%) had ocular dirofiliariasis, with single cases (4.55% each) of genital, mammary, lymphatic and a combination of subcutaneous and pulmonary dirofilariasis described. In one (4.55%) case, the primary anatomical site of adult D. repens could not be found. D. repens microfilariae were detected in the local tissue (local microfilariasis) in 11 (50.00%) cases and the peripheral blood (microfilaremia) in 11 (50.50%) cases. Final identification of D. repens microfilariae was based on morphological detection in 14 (63.64%) cases, and molecular detection in eight (36.36%) cases.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that humans may act as a final host for D. repens, however its role as a source of D. repens infection is less clear.
Keywords: Dirofilaria repens; Host; Human; Microfilaremia.
© 2021 The Authors.