FILARIASIS  

 History

[Brugia malayi] [Brugia timori] [Wuchereria bancrofti]

 

 

* Wucheria bancrofti

   The origin of Wucheria bancrofti is thought to be Southeast Asia.  The parasite’s closest relative, Wucheria kalimantani exists as a monkey parasite in Southeast Asia.  From there it is likely that the disease was carried by migrants to the South Pacific around 2,000 B.C.  Around 500 A.D. another migration from Southeast Asia likely carried the parasite to Madagascar where it subsequently spread to the African mainland.  By the 14th and 15th century, filariasis spread through Central Africa and into the Middle East.  The slave trade introduced the parasite to the New World (primarily Latin America) during the 17th and 18th centuries.  Introduction to Australia in the 19th century has been followed by its eradication from that continent. 

     Occurrence of chyluria associated with the presence of microfilaria in blood was discovered by Dr. Wucherer of Bahia and Dr. Timothy Lewis.  In 1876, Joseph Bancroft, a Brisbane physician, discovered an adult worm later to be named Wucheria bancrofti in 1921.   

     The life cycle of Wucheria bancrofti was first displayed in 1878, by Patrick Manson.  Manson, now known as “the father of tropical medicine,” identified mosquitoes as being responsible for lymphatic filariasis transmission.  The discovery occurred in the Chinese city of Amoy. 

 

* Brugia malayi

   In 1927, Lichtenstein and Brug identified microfilaria that were distinct from the previously discovered Wucheria bancrofti while in Indonesia.  They called the new species Filaria malayi.  In 1958, Buckley proposed the recognition of a new genus Brugia.  F. malayi became known as Brugia malayi. 

 

* Brugia timori

   Discovered in 1965 by David and Edeson in Portuguese Timor and named Microfilaria timori.  The adults were isolated in 1977 by Partono and named Brugia timori. 

 


Created by Eric Crossen and Nicole Sandoval          Human Biology 103 Parasites and Pestilence             Spring 2004            Instructor: D. Scott Smith, MD