Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 31, 2004
Publication Date: September 4, 2004
Citation: Jenkins, M.C. 2004. Diagnosis of parasitic infections. Proceedings DU COST Meeting on Neusporosis, p. 14
Control of protozoan and helminth parasites often relies on reliable methods to detect these microorganisms in either patient tissue or in the environment. While past techniques often utilized labor-intensive parasite isolation, newer techniques employ sensitive molecular methods to detect the parasite or an immunological response by the host to the parasite. The advent of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coupled to real-time analytical methods has resulted in techniques that are specific, sensitive, and rapid. Primers directed to repetitive elements whose internal sequence may vary between strains and species of parasites has advanced epidemiological studies of numerous parasitic infections. PCR has also allowed for the determination of other aspects of parasite biology, in particular the elucidation of life cycles and identification of both definitive and intermediate hosts. DNA sequencing of amplification product provides data that is useful for determining phylogenetic relationships of various parasite clades, and the life histories of these rather ancient microorganisms. The use of serological assays, in particular ELISA, has provided rapid screening methods for exposure of human and animal populations to cyst and non-cyst forming protozoa. The application of recombinant proteins from these parasites provides additional sensitivity and specificity to the assays at reduced cost. The advantages and drawbacks to molecular and serological assays, especially as they relate to detection and diagnosis of Neospora caninum in dairy cattle and canines will be discussed.