BACKGROUND: Giardia intestinalis, Cryptosporidium spp and Entamoeba histolytica are obligate pathogens and are the most common causative agents of childhood diarrhoea. The diagnosis of these parasitic infections was for a long time based on microscopic examination of stools that lacks sensitivity and specificity and requires a highly trained staff. As a result of these limitations, DNA-based detection methods exhibiting numerous advantages such as increased sensitivity and specificity, ability to combine multiple targets in one multiplex assay have been developed for enteric parasites. This study aimed to assess the epidemiology of these three-common diarrhoea-causing parasites in children under five years using microscopy vs. real time PCR assay.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A hospital-based cross-sectional survey for gastrointestinal parasites in children under five years was conducted in Ouagadougou from January 2018 to December 2019. Stool samples from 188 children presented with diarrhoea were processed using both light microscopy and real time PCR techniques.
RESULTS: Microscopy showed a 22.9% (43/188) overall prevalence of parasitosis with 10.1% (19/188) E. histolytica/E. dispar and 6.9% (13/188) G. intestinalis. Real time PCR was positive in 26.1% (49/188) of cases. G. intestinalis was the most common with a 22.9% (43/188) prevalence followed by Cryptosporidium spp 6.4% (12/188) and E. histolytica 1.6% (3/188).
CONCLUSIONS: Intestinal protozoan parasites mainly affect children aged 12-24 months. G. intestinalis was identified as the leading cause of childhood diarrhoea. The real time PCR assay showed an excellent sensitivity detecting gastrointestinal parasites comparatively to microscopy that exhibited false positive or negative cases.
To cite this article
Real-time multiplex PCR diagnosis of common diarrhoea-causing parasites in children under five years in Ouagadougou
Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine 2020;
Submission date: 08 Jun 2020
Revised on: 22 Jun 2020
Accepted on: 07 Jul 2020
Published online: 20 Jul 2020