Infections with schistosomes and soil-transmitted helminths exert a considerable yet underappreciated economic and public health burden on afflicted populations. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for patient management, drug efficacy evaluations, and monitoring of large-scale community-based control programs.
The diagnostic accuracy of four copromicroscopic techniques (i.e., Kato-Katz, Koga agar plate, ether-concentration, and FLOTAC) for the detection of Schistosoma mansoni and soil-transmitted helminth eggs was compared using stool samples from 112 school children in Côte d'Ivoire. Combined results of all four methods served as a diagnostic ‘gold’ standard and revealed prevalences of S. mansoni, hookworm, Trichuris trichiura, Strongyloides stercoralis and Ascaris lumbricoides of 83.0%, 55.4%, 40.2%, 33.9% and 28.6%, respectively. A single FLOTAC from stool samples preserved in sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin for 30 or 83 days showed a higher sensitivity for S. mansoni diagnosis (91.4%) than the ether-concentration method on stool samples preserved for 40 days (85.0%) or triplicate Kato-Katz using fresh stool samples (77.4%). Moreover, a single FLOTAC detected hookworm, A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura infections with a higher sensitivity than any of the other methods used, but resulted in lower egg counts. The Koga agar plate method was the most accurate diagnostic assay for S. stercoralis.
We have shown that the FLOTAC method holds promise for the diagnosis of S. mansoni. Moreover, our study confirms that FLOTAC is a sensitive technique for detection of common soil-transmitted helminths. For the diagnosis of S. stercoralis, the Koga agar plate method remains the method of choice.
Infections with parasitic worms (e.g., Schistosoma mansoni, hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and threadworm) are still widespread in the developing world. Accurate diagnosis is important for better patient management and for monitoring of deworming programs. Unfortunately, methods to detect parasite eggs or larvae in stool samples lack sensitivity, particularly when infection intensities are low. The most widely used method for the diagnosis of S. mansoni, hookworm, roundworm and whipworm in epidemiological surveys is the Kato-Katz technique. Recently, the FLOTAC technique has shown a higher sensitivity than the Kato-Katz method for the diagnosis of hookworm, roundworm and whipworm, but no data are available for S. mansoni. We compared the diagnostic accuracy of the FLOTAC with the Kato-Katz, ether-concentration and Koga agar plate techniques for S. mansoni and other parasitic worm infections using stool samples from 112 school children from Côte d'Ivoire. FLOTAC showed the highest sensitivity for S. mansoni diagnosis. Egg counts, however, were lower when using FLOTAC, an issue which needs further investigations. The FLOTAC, Kato-Katz and ether-concentration techniques failed to accurately detect threadworm larvae, and hence, the Koga agar plate remains the method of choice for this neglected parasite.