Frequency distribution of Brugia malayi microfilariae in human populations

A. Srividya, K. Krishnamoorthy, S. Sabesan, K. N. Panicker, B. T. Grenfell, D. A.P. Bundy

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8 Scopus citations


This study examines the effects of host age and sex on the frequency distribution of Brugia malayi infections in the human host. Microfilarial (mf) counts for a large data base on the epidemiology of brugian filariasis in Shertallai, Kerala, South India are analysed. Frequency distributions of microfilarial counts partitioned by age are successfully described by zero-truncated negative binomial distributions, fitted by maximum likelihood. This analysis provides estimates of the proportion of mf-positive individuals who are identified as negative due to sampling errors, allowing the construction of corrected mf age—prevalence curves, which indicate that the observed prevalence may under-estimate the true figures by between 18 and 47%. There is no evidence from these results for a decrease in the degree of over-dispersion of parasite frequency distributions with host age, such as might be produced by the acquired immunity to infection. This departure from the pattern in bancroftian filariasis (where there is evidence of such decreases in over-dispersion; Das et al. 1990) is discussed in terms of the long history of filariasis control (and consequently low infection prevalence) in Shertallai.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Parasitology


  • Brugia malayi
  • age distribution
  • density dependence
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • sex distribution
  • truncated negative binomial


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