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The increased sensitivity of qPCR in comparison to Kato-Katz is required for the accurate assessment of the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infection in settings that have received multiple rounds of mass drug administration

Authors
  • Dunn, JC
  • Papaiakovou, M
  • Han, KT
  • Chooneea, D
  • Bettis, AA
  • Wyine, NY
  • Lwin, AMM
  • Maung, NS
  • Misra, R
  • Littlewood, DTJ
  • Anderson, RM
Publication Date
Jun 17, 2020
Source
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository
Keywords
License
Green
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Abstract

Background The most commonly used diagnostic tool for soil-transmitted helminths (STH) is the Kato-Katz (KK) thick smear technique. However, numerous studies have suggested that the sensitivity of KK can be problematic, especially in low prevalence and low intensity settings. An emerging alternative is quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Methods In this study, both KK and qPCR were conducted on stool samples from 648 participants in an STH epidemiology study conducted in the delta region of Myanmar in June 2016. Results Prevalence of any STH was 20.68% by KK and 45.06% by qPCR. Prevalence of each individual STH was also higher by qPCR than KK, the biggest difference was for hookworm with an approximately 4-fold increase between the two diagnostic techniques. Prevalence of Ancylostoma ceylanicum, a parasite predominately found in dogs, was 4.63%, indicating that there is the possibility of zoonotic transmission in the study setting. In individuals with moderate to high intensity infections there is evidence for a linear relationship between eggs per gram (EPG) of faeces, derived from KK, and DNA copy number, derived from qPCR which is particularly strong for Ascaris lumbricoides. Conclusions The use of qPCR in low prevalence settings is important to accurately assess the epidemiological situation and plan control strategies for the ‘end game’. However, more work is required to accurately assess STH intensity from qPCR results and to reduce the cost of qPCR so that is widely accessible in STH endemic countries.

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