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Schunk, Mirjam; Mekonnen, Seleshi Kebede; Wondafrash, Beyene; Mengele, Carolin; Fleischmann, Erna; Herbinger, Karl-Heinz; Verweij, Jaco J.; Geldmacher, Christof; Bretzel, Gisela; Loscher, Thomas and Zeynudin, Ahmed (2015): Use of Occult Blood Detection Cards for Real-Time PCR-Based Diagnosis of Schistosoma Mansoni Infection.
In: PLOS ONE 10(9), e0137730 [PDF, 374kB]


Background In Schistosoma mansoni infection, diagnosis and control after treatment mainly rely on parasitological stool investigations which are laborious and have limited sensitivity. PCR methods have shown equal or superior sensitivity but preservation and storage methods limit their use in the field. Therefore, the use of occult blood detection cards (fecal cards) for easy sampling and storage of fecal samples for further PCR testing was evaluated in a pilot study. Methodology Stool specimens were collected in a highly endemic area for S. mansoni in Ethiopia and submitted in an investigator-blinded fashion to microscopic examination by Kato-Katz thick smear as well as to real-time PCR using either fresh frozen stool samples or stool smears on fecal cards which have been stored at ambient temperature for up to ten months. Principal Findings Out of 55 stool samples, 35 were positive by microscopy, 33 and 32 were positive by PCR of frozen samples and of fecal card samples, respectively. When microscopy was used as diagnostic "gold standard",the sensitivity of PCR on fresh stool was 94.3%(95%-CI: 86.6;100) and on fecal cards 91.4%(95%-CI: 82.2;100). Conclusions The use of fecal cards proved to be a simple and useful method for stool collection and prolonged storage prior to PCR based diagnosis of S. mansoni infection. This technique may be a valuable approach for large scale surveillance and post treatment assessments

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