Chapter 5

Schistosomiasis Mansoni Diagnosis: Current Status and Perspectives

Sheilla A. de Oliveira, Veruska C. A. de Souza, Anna Lígia Figueiredo, Silvia Maria Lucena Montenegro, Elisa A.N. Azevedo, Savio A.V. Oliveira, Clarice N.L. de Morais and Ana Lucia Coutinho Domingues


Schistosomiasis is considered a neglected tropical disease and remains a major public health problem throughout the tropics and subtropics with significant socioeconomic impact. More than 200 million people are infected worldwide. Within schistosomiasis, the specie Schistosoma mansoni is a major cause of this parasitic disease in developing countries and has been associated with high morbidity and mortality during both acute and chronic phases of infection. For the diagnosis of schistosomiasis mansoni, the gold standard is used for the detection of parasite eggs in stools. However, in patients with low parasite infection burdens, the direct detection of eggs is difficult owing to its low sensitivity. For this reason, serological tests are used to detect secreted S. mansoni antigens or antibodies produced to combat adult worm or soluble egg antigens. However, these assays are unable to differentiate between the different phases, which is necessary to follow up the evolution of the disease and chemotherapy efficacy. Research into other diagnostic tests has shown ways of overcoming the problems inherent to antibody detection and parasitological techniques in moderately to marginally endemic areas. Other techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction assays, have been considered as methods for the diagnosis of S. mansoni infections in different samples: stool, serum and urine. In this chapter, imaging methods are used not for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis as a disease, but for the diagnosis of morbidity, identifying the changes caused by Schistosoma mansoni infection in the human organism.

Total Pages: 129-172 (44)

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