Currently, the detection and diagnosis of parasite infections rely on several laboratory methods in addition to clinical symptoms, clinical history, travel history, and geographic location of patient. The primary tests currently used to diagnose many parasitic diseases have changed little since the development of the microscope in the 15th century by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. Furthermore, most of the current tests cannot distinguish between past, latent, acute, and reactivated infections and are not useful for following response to therapy or for prognosis.
Recent developments in new diagnostic tools, however, have opened new avenues for a vast improvement in parasite detection. Firstly, a number of newer serology-based assays that are highly specific and sensitive have emerged, such as the Falcon assay screening test ELISA (FAST-ELISA) [1
], Dot-ELISA [2
], rapid antigen detection system (RDTS) [4
], and luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) [5
]. Secondly, molecular-based approaches such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) [6
], real-time polymerase chain reaction [7
], and Luminex [8
] have shown a high potential for use in parasite diagnosis with increased specificity and sensitivity. Thirdly, proteomic technology has also been introduced for the discovery of biomarkers using tissues or biological fluids from the infected host.
The aim of this review is to highlight the potential for these new technologies in parasite diagnosis. For convenience, old and new parasitic diagnostic tools are summarized in Tables and . The diagnostic tools offered by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, USA) and the NRCP (National Reference Centre for Parasitology, Montréal, Canada) are also highlighted in Tables and .
Diagnostic tools for the detection of specific blood-borne parasitic diseases.
Diagnostic tools for the detection of specific intestinal parasitic diseases.
Diagnostic tools for the detection of specific blood-borne parasitic diseases offered by the CDC and the NRCP.
Diagnostic tools for the detection of specific intestinal parasitic diseases offered by the CDC and the NRCP.