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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1997 Sep-Oct;92(5):669-76.

Diagnosing schistosomiasis.

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Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou-FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.


The ideal diagnostic method for schistosomiasis detection seems to be still far from available. Paucity of egg output in low prevalence situations, low levels of circulating antigens in individuals with low intensity of infection and inadequate specificity of antibody detection systems outline pieces of a puzzle that challenges scientific efforts. Estimated prevalence, financial resources and operational reality must be taken into account when deciding the diagnostic method to be used. A combination of a screening step, using a fast strip test for antibody detection with a parasitological ratification step such as Kato-Katz repeated stool examination may serve as a diagnostic approach for a previously untreated low level endemic area. However, when eradication is the aim, and high financial investment is available, re-treatment may be based on the association between multiple stool examination and circulating antigen detection. Ethical aspects as well as cost-benefit rates between treatment and diagnosis approaches lead to the conclusion that in spite of the recent advances in simple administered and relatively safe drugs, treatment should only be performed when supported by appropriated diagnosis.

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