Indexed on: 29 Nov '12Published on: 29 Nov '12Published in: BMJ open
To characterise and confirm the presence of Mansonella ozzardi microfilariae in the cornea by biomicroscopy and corneal confocal microscopy.Cross-sectional study.Clinical practice study in patients from rural communities in Coari city on the Solimões river, Amazonas state, Brazil.The eyes of 212 consecutive volunteer patients were examined using a flash light and their blood checked for the presence of microfilariae by an expert microscopist. Patients with suspicious corneal lesions (characterised as nummular keratitis) were submitted to biomicroscopy, fundoscopy and corneal confocal microscopy evaluation (CCME). In two patients, a biopsy of the limbal conjunctiva adjacent to the nummular keratitis was carried out and blood collected from the surgical wound for microfilariae investigation by thick blood film examination.Positive correlation between corneal biomicroscopic and confocal lesions and M ozzardi microfilaremia.Of the 212 patients, 56 (26.4%) were positive for microfilaremia. 22 patients with nummular keratitis identified under flash light examination underwent biomicroscopy and CCME. Corneal lesions were positively correlated to microfilaremia (p=0.0001). At biomicroscopy, lesions were classified as quiescent or active. At CCME, lesions were categorised as circular or filiform. The associations between corneal lesions, CCME findings and microfilaremia are shown.We describe M ozzardi microfilariae in the cornea and the associated eye pathology. Further studies using ocular tissue PCR and other imaging techniques would be helpful.