Back to search

Asymptomatic filariasis and leprosy co-morbidity in a patient with suspected Guillain-Barrè syndrome: the first case report of an incidental finding in a slit-skin smear.


Introduction: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and leprosy are both endemic in India. These diseases are on the World Health Organization (WHO) list of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), as they affect the most marginalized communities in the world, resulting in deformities and functional limitation. We report the first case of asymptomatic filariasis and leprosy co-morbidity in a patient with suspected Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Case presentation: A 55-year-old male who was a farmer by occupation presented to the Neurology Outpatient Department (OPD) of our institute with complaints of weakness in all four limbs for the last 15 days. After admission, a detailed history revealed that the patient had been taking multi-drug therapy (MDT) for leprosy for the previous 6 months. After symptomatic management of the presenting complaints, the patient was sent to the Department of Microbiology for a consultation and six-site slit-skin sampling. The initial screening of Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN)-stained smears under a 10× objective led to the incidental finding of sheathed structures resembling microfilaria (Mf) on the smear made from ear lobules. In addition, short acid-fast bacilli (AFB) were also observed under the oil-immersion objective.

Conclusion: We emphasize that a high index of suspicion and thorough screening of smears by a microbiologist is essential in specimens obtained from any body site.

More information

Journal Article
Nag S
Gupta S
Sisodia J
Misra R