Main content area

Comparison between PCR and larvae visualization methods for diagnosis of Strongyloides stercoralis out of endemic area: A proposed algorithm

Repetto, Silvia A., Ruybal, Paula, Solana, María Elisa, López, Carlota, Berini, Carolina A., Alba Soto, Catalina D., Cappa, Stella M. González
Acta tropica 2016 v.157 pp. 169-177
Strongyloides stercoralis, algorithms, diagnostic techniques, disease severity, eosinophilia, feces, larvae, parasites, patients, polymerase chain reaction, strongyloidiasis, surveys, Argentina
Underdiagnosis of chronic infection with the nematode Strongyloides stercoralis may lead to severe disease in the immunosuppressed. Thus, we have set-up a specific and highly sensitive molecular diagnosis in stool samples. Here, we compared the accuracy of our polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method with that of conventional diagnostic methods for chronic infection. We also analyzed clinical and epidemiological predictors of infection to propose an algorithm for the diagnosis of strongyloidiasis useful for the clinician. Molecular and gold standard methods were performed to evaluate a cohort of 237 individuals recruited in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Subjects were assigned according to their immunological status, eosinophilia and/or history of residence in endemic areas. Diagnosis of strongyloidiasis by PCR on the first stool sample was achieved in 71/237 (29.9%) individuals whereas only 35/237(27.4%) were positive by conventional methods, requiring up to four serial stool samples at weekly intervals. Eosinophilia and history of residence in endemic areas have been revealed as independent factors as they increase the likelihood of detecting the parasite according to our study population. Our results underscore the usefulness of robust molecular tools aimed to diagnose chronic S. stercoralis infection. Evidence also highlights the need to survey patients with eosinophilia even when history of an endemic area is absent.