Detection by polymerase chain reaction of Schistosoma mansoni DNA in human serum and feces.

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  • 1 Laboratory of Clinical Research, Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--FIOCRUZ, Lima, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

A novel method for the detection of Schistosoma mansoni in human samples that is based on the amplification of a highly repeated DNA sequence has been developed. By use of simple DNA extraction techniques and a rapid 2-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR), it was possible to amplify S. mansoni DNA in human fecal and serum samples. The high sensitivity of the approach enabled the detection of the parasite DNA in fecal samples containing as few as 2.4 eggs per gram of feces, which makes it 10 times more sensitive than the Kato-Katz examination. A detection limit of I fg of Schistosoma sp. DNA was determined when pure DNA was used as PCR template. The amplification reaction showed to be specific giving no cross-reaction with DNA from other helminths. The PCR assay developed in this study may constitute a valuable alternative for the diagnosis of the Schistosoma sp. infection.