The Diagnosis of Schistosomiasis Mansoni by a Rectal Biopsy Technique

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  • School of Tropical Medicine, San Juan, , Puerto Rico
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A method consisting of a rectal mucosa biopsy for the clinical diagnosis of Schistosomiasis Mansoni, originally described by Ottolina and Atencio, has been applied by the writers for a period of six months and proved of extreme effectiveness. Several modifications, which make it easy and practical for routine applications, have been introduced to it. The basis for evaluating this technique is founded on a comparison of the results, obtained from its use, and those derived from stool examinations by the acid-ether concentration and the intradermal reaction tests in both treated and untreated cases of schistosomiasis.

In the untreated cases this rectal biopsy technique proved 100 per cent effective, while the acid-ether concentration and intradermal reaction tests were found positive in only 40 per cent of the same patients and in 62 per cent of the 16 patients that were tested. This biopsy technique was also positive in 70 per cent of the treated cases; the acid-ether concentration in only 18 per cent after an average of ten consecutive examinations had been performed. The intradermal reaction proved quite variable in 12 members of this group, the final results bearing no relationship to those obtained with the biopsy technique.

Besides simplifying the method for obtaining a rectal mucosa sample, the modifications introduced by the writers into the original Ottolina and Atencio method will not only permit its use for a more careful study of schistosomiasis, but also for the elucidation of many, as yet, obscure problems pertaining to it.