Field validity and feasibility of four techniques for the detection of Trichuris in simians: a model for monitoring drug efficacy in public health?PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2009; 3(1):e366.PN
Soil-transmitted helminths, such as Trichuris trichiura, are of major concern in public health. Current efforts to control these helminth infections involve periodic mass treatment in endemic areas. Since these large-scale interventions are likely to intensify, monitoring the drug efficacy will become indispensible. However, studies comparing detection techniques based on sensitivity, fecal egg counts (FEC), feasibility for mass diagnosis and drug efficacy estimates are scarce.
In the present study, the ether-based concentration, the Parasep Solvent Free (SF), the McMaster and the FLOTAC techniques were compared based on both validity and feasibility for the detection of Trichuris eggs in 100 fecal samples of nonhuman primates. In addition, the drug efficacy estimates of quantitative techniques was examined using a statistical simulation. Trichuris eggs were found in 47% of the samples. FLOTAC was the most sensitive technique (100%), followed by the Parasep SF (83.0% [95% confidence interval (CI): 82.4-83.6%]) and the ether-based concentration technique (76.6% [95% CI: 75.8-77.3%]). McMaster was the least sensitive (61.7% [95% CI: 60.7-62.6%]) and failed to detect low FEC. The quantitative comparison revealed a positive correlation between the four techniques (Rs = 0.85-0.93; p<0.0001). However, the ether-based concentration technique and the Parasep SF detected significantly fewer eggs than both the McMaster and the FLOTAC (p<0.0083). Overall, the McMaster was the most feasible technique (3.9 min/sample for preparing, reading and cleaning of the apparatus), followed by the ether-based concentration technique (7.7 min/sample) and the FLOTAC (9.8 min/sample). Parasep SF was the least feasible (17.7 min/sample). The simulation revealed that the sensitivity is less important for monitoring drug efficacy and that both FLOTAC and McMaster were reliable estimators.
The results of this study demonstrated that McMaster is a promising technique when making use of FEC to monitor drug efficacy in Trichuris.