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Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Oct 15;39(8):1123-8. Epub 2004 Sep 27.

Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia: a case series in a setting of nonendemicity.

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Faculty of Medicine, McLaughlin Center for Molecular Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) is a rare but serious manifestation of infection with the lymphatic filarial parasites Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi. Although endemicity is limited to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South America, and Asia, immigration and travel practices have led to the diagnosis of TPE in areas of nonendemicity.


We herein present a case series of all patients with TPE who presented to the Toronto General Hospital during 1990-2003.


Seventeen individuals presented with TPE during the study period, and all were of South Asian ancestry. All 17 received an incorrect diagnosis at presentation (median number of consultations before diagnosis, 2), the most frequent of which was asthma (76%). Eosinophil count, serum immunoglobulin E levels, and anti-filarial antibody titers were elevated in all patients. Ten of 14 patients had an abnormal chest radiograph finding, and 11 of 12 patients had abnormal results of pulmonary function tests.


TPE is an important diagnostic consideration in patients with eosinophilia, respiratory symptoms, and history of exposure to this disease. In the untreated individual, TPE can lead to chronic and progressive respiratory compromise and death. Prompt recognition and treatment with diethylcarbamazine is therefore key to minimizing morbidity and mortality.

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