High prevalence of Brugia timori infection in the highland of Alor Island, Indonesia

Taniawati Supali, Herry Wibowo, Paul Rückert, Kerstin Fischer, Is S. Ismid, Purnomo, Yenny Djuardi, Peter Fischer

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32 Citations (Scopus)


To identify areas endemic for Brugia timori infection, a field survey was carried out in 2001 on Alor, East Nusa Tenggara Timor, Indonesia. Elephantiasis was reported on this island by villagers as a major health problem. Bancroftian filariasis was detected in four villages in the coastal area, whereas B. timori was identified in four rice-farming villages. No mixed infections with both species were found. In the highland village Mainang (elevation = 880 m), 586 individuals were examined for B. timori infection and 157 (27%) microfilaria carriers were detected. The prevalence of microfilaremic individuals standardized by sex and age was 25%. The geometric mean microfilarial density of microfilaremic individuals was 138 microfilariae/ml. Among teenagers and adults, males tended to have a higher microfilarial prevalence than females. Microfilaria prevalence increased with age and a maximum was observed in the fifth decade of life. In infected individuals, the microfilarial density increased rapidly and high levels were observed in those individuals 11-20 years old. The highest microfilaria density was found in a 27-year-old woman (6,028 microfilariae/ml). Brugia timori on Alor was nocturnally periodic, but in patients with high parasite loads, a small number of microfilariae was also detected in the day blood. The disease rate was high and many persons reported a history of acute filarial attacks. Seventy-seven (13%) individuals showed lymphedema of the leg that occasionally presented severe elephantiasis. No hydrocele or genital lymphedema were observed. This study showed that B. timori infection is not restricted to the lowland and indicated that it might have a wider distribution in the lesser Sunda archipelago than previously assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-565
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


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