Abstract: Strongyloidiasis, which is caused by infection with the nematode Strongyloides stercoralis, is endemic to areas of northern Australia. Diagnosis in this region remains difficult due to the distances between endemic communities and diagnostic laboratories, leading to lengthy delays in stool processing for microscopy and culture. PCR represents a viable solution to this difficulty, having potential for high sensitivity detection of S. stercoralis, even in older, unpreserved faecal samples. We prospectively collected 695 faecal specimens that were submitted to The Townsville Hospital Microbiology Laboratory from the North Queensland region for routine parasitological examination, and subjected them to a Strongyloides sp. real-time (q)PCR. Results were confirmed with a novel nested conventional PCR assay targeting the 18S rRNA gene, followed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP). Of the 695 specimens tested, S. stercoralis was detected in three specimens (0.4%) by classical parasitological methods (direct microscopy and formyl-ether acetate concentration), whereas 42 positives were detected by qPCR (6.0%). Conventional PCR confirmed the real-time PCR results in 24 of the samples (3.5%). Several apparent false-positive results occurred at higher cycle times (Ct) in the qPCR. Use of real-time PCR in these populations is promising for the enhanced detection of disease and to support eradication efforts.
Robertson, Gemma J., Koehler, Anson V., Gasser, Robin B., Watts, Matthew, Norton, Robert, Bradbury, Richard S., 2017, Application of PCR-based tools to explore Strongyloides infection in people in parts of northern Australia, Volume:2, Electronic Article, viewed 04 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=39840.