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Diagnosis of feline filariasis assisted by a novel semi-automated microfluidic device in combination with high resolution melting real-time PCR

Phuakrod, Achinya, Sripumkhai, Witsaroot, Jeamsaksiri, Wutthinan, Pattamang, Pattaraluck, Juntasaro, Ekachai, Thienthong, Therdthai, Foongladda, Suporn, Brindley, Paul J., Wongkamchai, Sirichit
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 159
Bancroftian filariasis, Brugia malayi, DNA, Dirofilaria immitis, Dirofilaria repens, EDTA (chelating agent), blood, blood sampling, cats, human population, humans, melting, microfilariae, parasites, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, surveys, Thailand
BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of filariasis traditionally relies on the detection of circulating microfilariae (mf) using Giemsa-stained thick blood smears. This approach has several limitations. We developed a semi-automated microfluidic device to improve and simplify the detection of filarial nematodes. METHODS: The efficiency and repeatability of the microfluidic device was evaluated. Human EDTA blood samples were ‘spiked’ with B. malayi mf at high, moderate, and low levels, and subsequently tested 10 times. The device was also used for a field survey of feline filariasis in 383 domesticated cats in an area of Narathiwat Province, Thailand, the endemic area of Brugia malayi infection. RESULTS: In the control blood arbitrarily spiked with mf, the high level, moderate level and low level mf-positive controls yielded coefficient variation (CV) values of 4.44, 4.16 and 4.66%, respectively, at the optimized flow rate of 6 µl/min. During the field survey of feline filariasis in Narathiwat Province, the device detected mf in the blood of 34 of 383 cats (8.9%) whereas mf were detected in 28 (7.3%) cats using the blood smear test. Genomic DNA was extracted from mf trapped in the device after which high-resolution melting (HRM) real-time PCR assay was carried out, which enabled the simultaneous diagnosis of filarial species. Among the 34 mf-positive samples, 12 were identified as B. malayi, 15 as Dirofilaria immitis and 7 as| D. repens. CONCLUSIONS: We developed a semi-automated microfluidic device to detect mf of filarial parasites that could be used to diagnose lymphatic filariasis in human populations. This novel device facilitates rapid, higher-throughput detection and identification of infection with filariae in blood samples.