Infections causes by parasites of the gastrointestinal tract are a global public health problem. In industrialised countries, their particular epidemiological (low general prevalence of enteroparasites), economic (high labour costs) and clinical characteristics (constant increase in the number of samples and diagnostic determinations to be performed) have led molecular techniques to progressively replace conventional microscopy as the first-line diagnostic method of these pathogens in modern clinical laboratories. PCR-based techniques, particularly those developed for the simultaneous detection of the various agents that can cause the same infectious disease (syndromic diagnosis), already represent a cost-effective option that allow process automisation, workflow optimisation, and comparison of results among different laboratories, and facilitate accreditation of diagnostic procedures. This review clearly and concisely discusses the current situation of the molecular diagnosis of the main species of intestinal parasites in humans, particularly the enteric protozoans causing diarrhoea (Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis, Entamoeba histolytica), the most important members the Microsporidia phyla (Enterocytozoon bieneusi) and Stramenopiles phyla (Blastocystis sp.), as well as the helminths transmitted by soil (Ancylostoma spp., Ascaris lumbricoides, Necator americanus, Strongyloides stercoralis and Trichuris trichiura) and food (Anisakis spp., Clonorchis sinensis, Fasciola spp., Taenia solium, and Trichinella spiralis). Special attention is paid to the description of available techniques and formats, to their diagnostic benefits and the most widely used genetic markers for their detection, both in clinical laboratories and genotyping in referral and research centres.
Keywords: Diagnóstico molecular; Diagnóstico sindrómico; Enteric parasites; Helminths; Helmintos; Molecular diagnosis; PCR; Parásitos entéricos; Protozoans; Protozoos; Syndromic diagnosis.
Copyright © 2020. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U.