Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Answer to Case 747

 Answer: Dirofilaria sp. microfilariae

This is the perfect challenge for the end of our microfilariae series! The history of finding a worm in the eye will usually make us think of Loa loa (indeed, this case was initially misdiagnosed as such), but the location of the patient (Senegal) and the unique features of the microfilariae are important clues to the actual diagnosis. You can read all about this cases HERE. I've seen a number of cases of nematodes removed from the eye - particularly from India - that were misdiagnosed as Loa loa but actually represented Dirofilaria. Adult worms from these parasites can be differentiated by size (Loa loa has a maximum length of ~7 cm, whereas Dirofilaria can be 10+ cm) and features of their cuticle. Case of the Week 513 shows the differences in cuticle nicely.  

Dirofilaria repens rarely releases microfilariae in humans, making this case particularly unique! Idzi and I both noted the interesting nuclear pattern within the microfilariae - being rather swirly with two elongated nuclei at the tip:

Thanks again to Idzi and ITM Antwerp for sharing this amazing series of cases. Next week we will move onto something entirely different 😊.

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