Improved Detection of Intestinal Helminth Infections with a Formalin Ethyl-Acetate-Based Concentration Technique Compared to a Crude Formalin Concentration Technique
Brummaier T., Archasuksan L., Watthanakulpanich D., Paris DH., Utzinger J., McGready R., Proux S., Nosten F.
Intestinal helminth infections are the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases, predominantly affecting rural and marginalised populations. The mainstay of diagnosis is the microscopic examination of faecal samples to detect parasites in the form of eggs, larvae and cysts. In an effort to improve the standard of care, the comparative accuracy in detecting helminth infections of the hitherto used formalin-based concentration method (FC) was compared to a previously developed formalin ethyl-acetate-based concentration technique (FECT), prior to the systematic deployment of the latter at a research and humanitarian unit operating on the Thailand–Myanmar border. A total of 693 faecal samples were available for the comparison of the two diagnostic methods. The FECT was superior in detecting hookworm, Trichuris trichiura and small liver flukes. Interestingly, there was no significant difference for Ascaris lumbricoides, possibly due to the high observed egg density. Despite the minor increase in material cost and the fact that the FECT is somewhat more time consuming, this method was implemented as the new routine technique.