Performance of Field's Stain Compared with Conventional Giemsa Stain for the Rapid Detection of Blood Microfilariae in Gabon

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2022 Jul 5;107(2):383-387. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.22-0061. Print 2022 Aug 17.


Filarial infections caused by Loa loa and Mansonella perstans are a considerable public health burden in rural regions of Central Africa. Rapid diagnostic tools for the detection of microfilariae in the blood are needed. Field's stain is a rapid staining technique for microscopic slides originally established for malaria diagnostics. It requires less than 1 minute of staining compared with conventional staining protocols requiring at least 15 to 20 minutes for staining and could thus significantly accelerate diagnostics for human filariasis. Here we evaluated Field's stain as a rapid staining technique in comparison to Giemsa stain for the detection of microfilariae in peripheral blood. Blood smears were collected from 175 participants residing in the region of Lambaréné and Fougamou, Gabon. Each participant's samples were stained in parallel with Field's stain and conventional Giemsa stain. Slides were then microscopically assessed and compared for qualitative and quantitative results by a blinded assessor for the two endemic filarial blood pathogens M. perstans and L. loa. Field's stain shows excellent diagnostic performance characteristics for L. loa microfilariae compared with Giemsa staining. Concordance was favorable for M. perstans although lower than for L. loa. Field's stain offers a rapid alternative to Giemsa stain for detection of L. loa microfilariae in thick blood smears. This could help accelerate diagnostics of blood filarial pathogens in mass screening programs or resource constrained health care institutions with high patient load.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azure Stains
  • Coloring Agents
  • Filariasis* / diagnosis
  • Filariasis* / epidemiology
  • Gabon / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Loa
  • Loiasis* / epidemiology
  • Microfilariae


  • Azure Stains
  • Coloring Agents