Brugia malayi : Epidemiology, Laboratory Diagnosis & Treatment

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Brugia malayi , also known as Malayan filaria, can be found in mosquito breeding areas around the world, where it can cause Malayan filariasis or elephantiasis. Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, New Guinea, Vietnam, Thailand, and specific regions of Japan, Korea, and China are among them. Although humans are thought to be the primary definite host, B. malayi has also been found to infect cats and monkeys.

Morphology of Brugia malayi


The typical Brugia malayi microfilaria measures 200 to 280 m in length. This organism, like W. bancrofti, has a sheath, a rounded anterior end, and a large number of nuclei. The presence of two distinct nuclei in the tip of the somewhat pointed tail distinguishes it from the other sheathed organisms. These two nuclei are distinct and distinct from the other nuclei present in the organism’s body.

Brugia malayi  Microfilariae
Brugia malayi Microfilariae


Adult worms of B. malayi resemble those of W. bancrofti in that they are white in color and have a threadlike appearance. The average adult female worm is 53 mm long, while the average adult male is 24 mm long.

  Brugia malayi
Brugia malayi

Life Cycle of Brugia malayi

Depending on the location and animal reservoirs present, B. malayi may be transmitted by the mosquito genera Aedes, Anopheles, or Mansonia. Because the Anopheles mosquito can transmit W. bancrofti, co-infection is theoretically possible. All other aspects of B. malayi’s life cycle are similar to those of W. bancrofti.

Life Cycle of Brugia malayi
Life Cycle of Brugia malayi

Clinical Symptoms of Malayan filariasis

Even when microfilariae are present in the blood, B. malayi infections are frequently asymptomatic. Fevers can develop months or years after the initial infection. Other symptoms include granulomatous lesions caused by microfilarial invasion of the lymphatics, chills, lymphadenopathy, lymphangitis, and eosinophilia. Elephantiasis of the legs develops as a result. Elephantiasis of the genitals is possible, but rare.

Laboratory Diagnosis of Malayan filariasis

Despite the fact that only a few documented B. malayi microfilariae have been recovered, examination of stained blood films is the best method for diagnosis. Because B. malayi has a nocturnal rhythm, specimens collected at night are more likely to contain a large number of circulating microfilariae. Subperiodic organisms may appear, and this should be taken into account when deciding on a specimen collection protocol. The Knott method can also be used. Serologic methods, meanwhile, have been developed and are now available.

Treatment of Malayan filariasis

Treatment for B. malayi is similar to that for W. bancrofti, with diethylcarbamazine being the most effective medication (DEC). Following treatment, inflammatory reactions are more common and can be severe. As a result, anti-inflammatory medications may be required.

Prevention and Control of Malayan filariasis

The measures for preventing and controlling B. malayi are the same as those for W. bancrofti.


Clinical Parasitology: A PRACTICAL APPROACH. Elizabeth A. Gockel-Blessing (formerly Zeibig) P. 242 – 244

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About the Author: Labweeks

KEUMENI DEFFE Arthur luciano is a medical laboratory technologist, community health advocate and currently a master student in tropical medicine and infectious disease.

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