Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths

by Elise M. O’Connell and Thomas B. Nutman
Am J Trop Med Hyg 2016, Vol. 95, No. 3, 508-513

6 pp. 481 kB
http://www.ajtmh.org/content/95/3/508.full.pdf+htmlcover

Historically, the diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) (e.g., Strongyloides stercoralis, Trichuris trichiura, Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, and Ascaris lumbricoides) has relied on often-insensitive microscopy techniques. Over the past several years, there has been an effort to use molecular diagnostics, particularly quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), to detect intestinal pathogens. Although studies comparing qPCR to microscopy methods for STH are imperfect, due in large part to a lack of a sufficient gold standard, they do show a significant increase in sensitivity and specificity of qPCR compared with microscopic techniques. These studies, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using qPCR for STH diagnosis, are discussed.

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