Identification of Entamoeba histolytica and E. dispar infection in Maceió, Alagoas State, northeast Brazil
Introduction: A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the prevalence of E. histolytica and E. dispar by examining stool samples obtained from 1,003 students of public schools in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil.
Methodology: All stool samples were processed using the spontaneous sedimentation technique and examined microscopically for the presence of Entamoeba species. In order to distinguish infections caused by E. histolytica, fecal samples presenting cysts of Entamoeba were subjected to specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: The analysis of the fecal specimens by microscopy identified 6.4% (64/1,003) students positive for E. histolytica/E. dispar/E. moshkovskii cysts. The prevalence of E. histolytica detected by ELISA was 3.0% (30/1,003) and by PCR 2.8% (28/1,003), but the difference is not statistically significant (p > 0.05). The prevalence of E. dispar in schoolchildren was 5.0% (50/1,003). Mixed infections with E. histolytica and E. dispar were also detected by PCR. Even though immunological and molecular methods have shown similar results for identification of E. histolytica, ELISA is advantageous over the PCR since it is relatively cheaper and easier to perform.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrated the occurrence of E. histolytica in Maceió and highlights the need to introduce a specific diagnostic test to detect amoebiasis cases in public laboratories.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).