On the importance of validating diagnostic RT-PCR assays for Dientamoeba fragilis and other gastrointestinal pathogens of human and veterinary importance

Tue10  Apr09:45am(15 mins)
Stream 5 - IBERS 0.33 (Monday), Physisc 0.11 (Tuesday & Wednesday)


R Gough2J T Ellis2; J Barratt2; J Harkness1; D Marriott1; D Stark1
1 Department of Microbiology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia;  2 School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Australia


Dientamoeba fragilis is a trichomonad parasite that resides in the human bowel and it remains unclear whether there is a need to diagnose and treat human infections. Patients infected with D. fragilis experience a range of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue and flatulence, lasting in some cases for many years. Drug treatment is typically offered to such patients and symptoms normally clear quickly.  Microscopy has proved really inefficient as a means of detecting D. fragilis in faecal specimens, and so real time PCR methods have emerged as the gold standard methods for diagnosing infections. Despite their use in diagnostic laboratories, there remains the need to ensure these tests are vigorously validated and the EasyScreen™ Enteric Parasite Detection Kit (Genetic Signatures, Sydney, Australia) is arguably the most extensively validated of these tests. We have  benchmarked the EasyScreen assay for specificity and sensitivity for both faecal samples from animals and humans and compared it to other commonly used assays.  The results show that the EasyScreen assay should be considered the gold standard for real time PCR detection of D. fragilis and other gastrointestinal parasites.


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