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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Microscopy and Pcr for Detection of Three Species of Encephalitozoon in Feces

Authors
item Fayer, Ronald
item Santin, Monica - ARS VISITING SCIENTIST
item Palmer, Robert

Submitted to: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2003
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
Citation: Fayer, R., Santin, M., Palmer, R.C. 2003. Comparison of Microscopy and PCR for detection of three species of encephalitozoon in feces. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. Vol. 50. pp. 572-573.

Interpretive Summary: Microsporidia are very small protozoan parasites that infect humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife. Spores, transmitted from host to host rarely exceed 3mm in size, making them difficult to see, difficult to differentiate from other tiny particulate matter in clinical and environmental specimens, and difficult or impossible to differentiate species of Microsporidia even with excellent microscopic equipment. Because their small size and non-specific staining characteristics make direct detection of spores in feces by light microscopy difficult and because little is known of the sensitivity, or limits of detection, for either microscopic or molecular methods the present study was undertaken. In this study microscopic versus molecular methods of detection were compared when known numbers of spores from 3 microsporidian species were seeded into animal feces. PCR was found superior to microscopy for detection of specimens with low numbers of spores.

Technical Abstract: Microsporidia are tiny zoonotic protozoan parasites infectious for humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife. Spores, transmitted primarily in feces from an infected host to susceptible host rarely exceed 3mm in size. Spores are difficult to see, difficult to differentiate from other tiny particulate matter in clinical and environmental specimens, and difficult or impossible to differentiate at the species level from other Microsporidia by microscopy. Furthermore, their non-specific staining characteristics make direct detection of spores in feces by light microscopy more difficult and because little is known of the sensitivity, or limits of detection, for either microscopic or molecular methods the present study was undertaken. In this study microscopic versus molecular methods of detection were compared when known numbers of spores from 3 microsporidian species were seeded into animal feces. PCR was found superior to microscopy for detection of specimens with low numbers of spores. Differences were found in recovery rates from feces of different species of hosts.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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