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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1996 May-Jun;90(3):248-9.

Use of the ProSpecT microplate enzyme immunoassay for the detection of pathogenic and non-pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica in faecal specimens.

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Department of Health, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Taiwan, Republic of China.


A commercial microplate enzyme immunoassay (ProSpecT EIA; Alexon Inc., Sunnyvale, CA 94089, USA) was compared with conventional microscopy for the diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica infection. Using specimens known to be infected, the sensitivity of the ProSpecT EIA was 78% and its specificity was 99%. No cross reaction with other intestinal parasites was observed. The ProSpecT EIA and conventional microscopy (using merthiolate-iodine-formaldehyde direct wet mounts and concentration techniques) were then used to detect E. histolytica infections in 431 patients in a mental hospital in Taiwan. Using single stool specimens, microscopy detected infection in 10.9% of the patients, compared with 16.9% detected by ProSpecT EIA. The latter method was simple and quick, but more expensive, and could be used to complement microscopy if a prompt diagnosis is desired clinically. However, ProSpecT EIA cannot differentiate between pathogenic E. histolytica and non-pathogenic strains (= E. dispar), which limits its usefulness.

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