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Neurological manifestations of filarial infections-Chapter 18

Elsevier Health Sciences
DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-444-53490-3.00018-2
  • Dracunculiasis
  • Filarial Infection
  • Loasis
  • Neglected Tropical Infections
  • Neurological Manifestations
  • Seizures
  • Medicine


Abstract Filarial infections cause a huge public health burden wherever they are endemic. These filaria may locate anywhere in the human body. Their manifestations and pathogenic mechanisms, except the most common ones, are rarely investigated systematically. Their neurological manifestations, however, are being increasingly recognized particularly with onchocerciasis or Loa loa infections, Wuchereria bancrofti, or Mansonella perstans. The risk of developing these manifestations may also increase in cases that harbor multiple filariasis or coinfections, for instance as with Plasmodium. The microfilaria of Onchocerca and Loa loa are seen in cerebrospinal fluid. The pathogenesis of neurological manifestations of these infections is complex; however, pathogenic reactions may be caused by mechanical disruption, e.g., degeneration often followed by granulomas, causing fibrosis or mass effects on other tissues, vascular lesions, e.g., vascular block of cerebral vessels, or disordered inflammatory responses resulting in meningitis, encephalitis or localized inflammatory responses. The chances of having neurological manifestations may also depend upon the frequency and“heaviness”of infection over a lifetime. Hence, this type of infection should no longer be considered a disease of the commonly affected areas but one that may produce systemic effects or other manifestations, and these should be considered in populations where they are endemic.

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