R Gough2; J 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
DiscussionDientamoeba 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.