Screening for intestinal helminth infestation in a semi-urban cohort of HIV-infected people in Uganda: a combination of techniques may enhance diagnostic yield in the absence of multiple stool samples

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
Brown M, Bukusuba J, Hughes P, Nakiyingi J, Watera C, Elliott A and Whitworth J

Intestinal helminth prevalence is best determined by using multiple stool samples from each subject, but this may be difficult in the clinic or hospital setting. We used a range of well-established parasitological techniques in a study of interactions between helminth infestation and HIV in a cohort of 412 HIV-infected people in Entebbe, Uganda. Analysis of a single stool sample underestimated helminth prevalence, especially of low-intensity infections, but a combination of Kato-Katz smear, formol-ether concentration (FEC), charcoal culture for Strongyloides and a serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Schistosoma mansoni antigen (CAA) increased diagnostic yield. Helminths were diagnosed in 23% patients by FEC alone, 35% by FEC and Kato-Katz, 39% by FEC, Kato-Katz and charcoal culture and 49% by a combination of all three tests plus CAA. Performing a range of techniques on a single sample may enhance the detection of parasites. Techniques vary in their sensitivity for different helminths so the appropriate choice of techniques depends on which parasite species are being sought.

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