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Open Access Research Article

Molecular evidence on the occurrence of co-infection with Pichia guilliermondii and Wuchereria bancrofti in two filarial endemic districts of India

Suprabhat Mukherjee, Niladri Mukherjee, Prasanta Saini, Prajna Gayen, Priya Roy and Santi P Sinha Babu*

Author Affiliations

Parasitology Laboratory, Department of Zoology (Centre for Advanced Studies), Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan- 731 235, West Bengal, India

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Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2014, 3:13  doi:10.1186/2049-9957-3-13

Published: 7 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Lymphatic filariasis (LF), a vector-borne parasitic disease, is endemic in several parts of India and mostly affects the poor or those with a low-income. The disease results in huge numbers of morbidities, disabilities, and deaths every year. Association of co-infection with other pathogens makes the condition more severe. Although co-infection is becoming a growing area of research, it is yet to emerge as a frontier research topic in filarial research specifically. This study reports the occurrence of a fungal infection in a large number of patients suffering from bancroftian filariasis in two districts of West Bengal, India.

Methods

Nocturnal blood samples from filarial patients containing parasites and fungus were initially co-cultured, and further the fungus was isolated and characterized. Molecular identification of the isolate was carried out by PCR-based selective amplification and sequencing of highly-conserved D1/D2 region of 26S rDNA, whereas pathogenicity was determined by amplification of the RPS0 gene. A phylogenetic tree was constructed to study the relationship between the isolate and common pathogenic yeasts. The isolate was studied for antibiotic sensitivity, whereas morphological characterization was performed by microscopic techniques.

Results

The isolate was identified as Pichia guilliermondii and this fungus was found to exist in co-infection with Wuchereria bancrofti in filarial patients. The fungus showed resistance to azole antifungals, griseofulvin, and, amphotericin B, whereas significant susceptibility was evident in cases of nystatin and cycloheximide. A total of 197 out of 222 patients showed this co-infection.

Conclusion

This study revealed, for the first time, that P. guilliermondii exists as a co-infection in microfilaraemic individuals living in a filarial endemic zone. The findings are important and have relevance to human health, especially for filarial patients.

Keywords:
Lymphatic filariasis; Pichia guilliermondii; Co-infection; Polymerase chain reaction; Molecular identification