Recent advances in clinical parasitology diagnostics

Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2014 Nov;16(11):434. doi: 10.1007/s11908-014-0434-9.


Microscopy has several limitations in the diagnosis of parasitic infection. New technologies have emerged to address some of these limitations. We review recent advances in three key areas. The detection of enteric protozoa is a commonly requested test, particularly with increasing travel to and migration from endemic countries. Microscopy is slow and labor intensive and requires a high level of technical expertise. It also lacks both sensitivity and specificity. Recently developed nucleic acid amplification tests are automated and rapid and show superior accuracy. Proteomics shows promise for both the diagnosis of infections where parasite detection is difficult and the potential for accurate assessment of cure in these cases. Finally, rapid and simple diagnostic tests suitable for use in low-resource settings are now allowing for improved study and control of infection in endemic regions.