Leukocytosis and blood eosinophilia in a polyparasitised population in north-eastern Brazil.Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Jan; 100(1):32-40.TR
It has long been known that leukocytosis and blood eosinophilia are common in the tropical environment, but data derived from population-based studies are scarce. A study was undertaken in a fishing village in north-east Brazil where both intestinal helminthiases and parasitic skin diseases are common. Of 409 individuals studied, 128 (31.3%) were infected with one intestinal helminth or ectoparasite species, 93 (22.7%) with two, 61 (14.9%) with three, 25 (6.1%) with four and 11 (2.7%) with more than four species; no parasites were found in 91 (22.2%) individuals. Leukocyte counts ranged between 3,300 cells/microl and 16,100 cells/microl (median, 7,200 cells/microl) and eosinophil counts between 40 cells/microl and 5,460 cells/microl (median, 455 cells/microl). Eosinophilia (>500/microl) was detected in 44.7% of the individuals, and hypereosinophilia (>1,000/microl) in 12.9%. Thirty-six (8.8%) individuals showed leukocytosis. While 75% of individuals with normal eosinophil counts were considered parasite-free, only 14% with eosinophilia and 11% with hypereosinophilia did not have enteroparasites or ectoparasites. Multivariate regression showed that the probability of eosinophilia and hypereosinophilia, but not of leukocytosis, increased with the number of parasite species present. The data show that eosinophilia occurs in almost one-half of the individuals from a resource-poor setting and that it is significantly associated with the presence of intestinal helminths, but not with the presence of ectoparasites.