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Parasitol Res. 2012 Jul;111(1):475-8. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-2822-0.

Experimental study for early diagnosis of prepatent schistosomiasis mansoni by detection of free circulating DNA in serum.

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Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt.


Sensitive and specific diagnostic methods of schistosomiasis at an early stage of infection are crucial to avoid irreversible pathological reactions induced by eggs. This study aimed to evaluate the PCR technique for detection of free circulating Schistosoma mansoni DNA in serum in the early prepatent period in experimentally infected mice, in comparison to the commonly used indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA) for the detection of bilharzial antibody and stool examination. Sixty-four mice were experimentally infected with S. mansoni, and every 3 or 4 days through the 8 weeks postinfection (p.i.), serum samples were collected from randomly chosen four infected mice, then pooled and examined for circulating DNA and bilharzial antibody. The results showed that the earliest deposition of eggs in the small intestine was observed at the fifth week p.i., and the eggs were detected in feces in the seventh week p.i. PCR detected free circulating DNA of S. mansoni starting from the third day p.i., while IHA failed to detect infection up to the eighth week p.i. It is concluded that detection of free circulating DNA by PCR can be used as a valuable test for early diagnosis of prepatent S. mansoni infection.

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