Diagnosing multiple parasitic infections: trypanosomiasis, loiasis and schistosomiasis in a single case.
Scott JA., Davidson RN., Moody AH., Bryceson AD.
A case is reported of a 32-year-old traveller with loiasis, schistosomiasis and African trypanosomiasis. The patient had been working in oil exploration in Nigeria and Gabon and presented with Calabar swellings and carpal tunnel syndrome. Serology for all 3 diseases was positive but microfilariae of Loa loa and ova of schistosomiasis were not found. Treatment with diethylcarbamazine and praziquantel was given for loiasis and schistosomiasis respectively. Trypanosomes were isolated from a lymph node aspirate only after repetition of the procedure 2 months later and the patient was treated with suramin. He developed a drug induced nephritis and was then treated successfully with alpha-difluoromethylornithine. There is a discussion of the difficulties encountered making these diagnoses in Europeans particularly where there are atypical clinical features. The risks of rural work in West Africa are noted and the importance of considering all parasitic diseases relevant to the travel/occupational history is emphasised.