DNA amplification approaches for the diagnosis of key parasitic helminth infections of humans
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Parasitic helminths of humans are a major public health threat, particularly in developing countries. The rapid and reliable diagnosis of helminth infections is central to their control as well as for environmental monitoring and disease surveillance. Effective diagnosis is dependent on the sensitivity, specificity and reliability of the tests employed. The most commonly used diagnosis of helminth infections has been the microscopic detection of eggs in faecal samples. However, the eggs of related helminths are often very similar in morphology and morphometry, making diagnosis inaccurate. DNA amplification tests can provide alternative approaches for diagnosis and can be sensitive and specific, provided reliable molecular genetic markers are employed in the tests. Such advanced tools can be used for the quantification of egg numbers, in order to assess infection intensities in infected hosts, and can provide multiplexing capability which can be required for the identification of multiple different helminth species in individual samples. These approaches provide powerful diagnostic techniques that can be used in clinical settings and as laboratory tools for surveillance and for environmental monitoring to support helminth control programs.
Molecular and Cellular Probes