Parasitology Research

, 103:735 | Cite as

The detection and quantification of a digenean infection in the snail host with special emphasis on Fasciola sp.

Review

Abstract

In this review, ten methods used to study digenean infections in their intermediate hosts were compared to determine which one should be used either in the field or in the lab to establish the prevalence and intensity of infections in snails. Snail crushing and snail dissection allow quick establishing of prevalence in natural or experimental infections, whereas histology is considered as the most accurate approach to assess the intensity of infection. The follow-up of cercarial shedding only gave an idea on cercarial production. Among recently developed techniques, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) brings the most accurate information and shows high sensitivity and specificity levels when compared to blotting techniques. The easiness and relatively low cost of the basic PCR protocol make it interesting to investigate the epidemiology of the liver fluke in a lab with limited financial resources. Nevertheless, if this technique allows a relatively good estimation of the prevalence, information concerning the intensity of infection is best obtained through real time PCR. However, at the time being this technique is too expensive to be used routinely in the field. The choice between classical or new techniques is usually based on a compromise, as each technique has its advantages and drawbacks.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yannick Caron
    • 1
  • Daniel Rondelaud
    • 2
  • Bertrand Losson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Infectious DiseasesUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.UPRES EA no. 3174Faculty of MedicineLimoges CedexFrance

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