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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2008;2(11):e331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000331. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

Diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminths in the era of preventive chemotherapy: effect of multiple stool sampling and use of different diagnostic techniques.

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1
Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Soil-transmitted helminth infections are common throughout the tropics and subtropics and they disproportionately affect the poorest of the poor. In view of a growing global commitment to control soil-transmitted helminthiasis, there is a need to elucidate the effect of repeated stool sampling and the use of different diagnostic methods in areas targeted for preventive chemotherapy that are characterized by low-infection intensities. In this study, we focused on schoolchildren on Unguja Island, Zanzibar, an area where anthelminthic drugs have been repeatedly administered over the past decade.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Three serial stool samples from each of 342 schoolchildren were examined using the Kato-Katz (K-K), Koga agar plate (KAP), and Baermann (BM) techniques. These methods were used individually or in combination for the diagnosis of Ascaris lumbricoides (K-K), Trichuris trichiura (K-K), hookworm (K-K and KAP), and Strongyloides stercoralis (KAP and BM). The examination of multiple stool samples instead of a single one resulted in an increase of the observed prevalence; e.g., an increase of 161% for hookworm using the K-K method. The diagnostic sensitivity of single stool sampling ranged between 20.7% for BM to detect S. stercoralis and 84.2% for K-K to diagnose A. lumbricoides. Highest sensitivities were observed when different diagnostic approaches were combined. The observed prevalences for T. trichiura, hookworm, A. lumbricoides, and S. stercoralis were 47.9%, 22.5%, 16.5%, and 10.8% after examining 3 stool samples. These values are close to the 'true' prevalences predicted by a mathematical model.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

Rigorous epidemiologic surveillance of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in the era of preventive chemotherapy is facilitated by multiple stool sampling bolstered by different diagnostic techniques.

PMID:
18982057
PMCID:
PMC2570799
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0000331
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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