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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Mar;90(3):535-45. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.13-0268. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Diagnostic accuracy of Kato-Katz, FLOTAC, Baermann, and PCR methods for the detection of light-intensity hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis infections in Tanzania.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom; Bagamoyo Research and Training Centre, Ifakara Health Institute, Bagamoyo, United Republic of Tanzania; Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; Division for Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Ludwig-Maximilians University Hospital, Munich, Germany; National Institute for Medical Research, Mbeya Medical Research Center, Mbeya, Tanzania.


Sensitive diagnostic tools are crucial for an accurate assessment of helminth infections in low-endemicity areas. We examined stool samples from Tanzanian individuals and compared the diagnostic accuracy of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with the FLOTAC technique and the Kato-Katz method for hookworm and the Baermann method for Strongyloides stercoralis detection. Only FLOTAC had a higher sensitivity than the Kato-Katz method for hookworm diagnosis; the sensitivities of PCR and the Kato-Katz method were equal. PCR had a very low sensitivity for S. stercoralis detection. The cycle threshold values of the PCR were negatively correlated with the logarithm of hookworm egg and S. stercoralis larvae counts. The median larvae count was significantly lower in PCR false negatives than true positives. All methods failed to detect very low-intensity infections. New diagnostic approaches are needed for monitoring of progressing helminth control programs, confirmation of elimination, or surveillance of disease recrudescence.

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