Serological Studies inNectomys squamipesDemonstrate the Low Sensitivity of Coprological Exams for the Diagnosis of Schistosomiasis

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The existence of wild rodents naturally infected by Schistosoma mansoni is a drawback for schistosomiasis control programs. As a consequence, it is necessary to have a precise diagnosis of S. mansoni infection in wild rodents (water rats; Nectomys squamipes), the species seemingly involved in the transmission of schistosomiasis at Sumindouro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 78 specimens of N. squamipes was captured in an endemic area at Vale do Pamparrão and Porteira Verde, Sumidouro, Brazil; 5 more were born in captivity and experimentally infected. The sensitivity and specificity of the coprological method of Kato-Katz and serological methods, i.e., enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot (WB), were compared. The rodents were subsequently killed and necropsied to confirm infection. The prevalences observed using ELISA (48%) and WB (41%) were equivalent to those found at necropsy (41%). The ELISA showed a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 87%, whereas the WB showed a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 89%. The Kato-Katz method exhibited 50% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The differences found among the ELISA, WB, and necropsy, when compared with Kato-Katz, may be related to the low sensitivity of the coprological method. Serological methods should be used for more reliable epidemiological information.

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