oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Macroscopic and microscopic methods in the diagnosis of intestinal bilharziasis

Volume 15, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Studies have been made to improve the methods of collection and processing of specimens of stool for examination for S. mansoni infections. Employing sedimentation techniques, it has been shown that a stool placed by the subject into a hypertonic saline solution may be retained for several days and eggs will still be found in it and hatch from it. It is shown that there is a definite advantage in not processing the material immediately it is collected. It is suggested that stored in hypertonic saline the faecal matrix disintegrates, releasing the schistosome eggs and preventing them from being trapped on the sieve during processing. Stool specimens subjected to hatching should be retained and observed at intervals for at least 48 hours after addition of hatching water before being discarded as negative. The type of stool sample taken has an important bearing on the harvest of eggs. It is shown that it is preferable to take a small sample by scraping from the surface of the body of a formed stool. Ideally, both microscopic examination and miracidiaI hatching techniques should be used, but hatching methods used alone will generally diagnose more cases than microscopic methods, and they have the added advantage of proving the viability of the eggs being passed by the patient. This is of very great significance in the follow-up examination of patients in trials of chemotherapeutic agents.

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