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Infectious Disease Online

Pathology of Mansonelliasis

Dr Sampurna Roy MD





Three species of Mansonella infect man : Mansonella perstans, Mansonella ozzardi, and Mansonella streptocerca.

Mansonella perstans inhabits Africa and South America. Mansonella ozzardi is restricted to areas of South America and the Caribbean, and Mansonella streptocerca is found in portions of West and Central Africa.


The symptoms caused by Mansonella perstans and Mansonella ozzardi are minor and nonspecific. 


Both worms live in the abdominal cavity, where they provoke little or no inflammation.


The only sign of infection is usually circulating microfilariae.


By contrast, the adult Mansonella streptocerca lives in the dermis of the upper trunk, shoulders, and arms.


The microfilariae are concentrated there, but have also been identified in lymph nodes.


Infection by Mansonella streptocerca causes itching and hypopigmented macules of upper trunk, shoulders and arms.


After treatment with diethylcarbamazine (a potent filariacide) microfilaria and adult worms degenerate in the dermis and cause diffuse and focal inflammation.


The diagnosis is made by placing a skin snip in saline and watching the microfilaria emerge.


The hypopigmented macules of streptocerciasis must be distinguished from macules of leprosy.


Species of Culicoides, the biting midges, are intermediate hosts for all three species of Mansonella.


Further reading

Biting of anthropophilic Culicoides fulvithorax (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), a vector of Mansonella perstans in Nigeria.

Rapid assessment of the geographical distribution of Mansonella perstans infections in Uganda, by screening schoolchildren for microfilariae.

Prevalence of Mansonella perstans infections among the nomadic Fulanis of northern Nigeria.

Transfusional Mansonella perstans microfilariasis.

Case report: intraocular localization of Mansonella perstans in a patient from south Chad.

Studies on filariasis in Bauchi State, Nigeria. V. The distribution and prevalence of mansonellosis with special reference to clinical signs.

Epidemiology of Mansonella perstans filariasis in the forest region of south Congo.

Mansonella perstans microfilaraemia among the Bori community in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.




Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







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