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Open Access Research

Mini-FLOTAC and Kato-Katz: helminth eggs watching on the shore of lake Victoria

Beatrice Barda1*, Henry Zepherine3, Laura Rinaldi2, Giuseppe Cringoli2, Roberto Burioni1, Massimo Clementi1 and Marco Albonico4

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Microbiology San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy

2 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, Section of Veterinary Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy

3 Bukumbi Hospital, Mwanza, Tanzania

4 Ivo de Carneri Foundation, Milan, Italy

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:220  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-220

Published: 31 July 2013

Abstract

Background

One of the challenges for monitoring helminth control programmes based on preventive chemotherapy is the lack of a copro-parasitological gold–standard method that combines good sensitivity with quantitative performance, low cost, and easy-to-learn technique.

The aim of our study was to evaluate and compare, the WHO recommended quantitative diagnostic technique (Kato-Katz) and the Mini-FLOTAC.

Methods

Mini-FLOTAC is an innovative method based on floatation of helminths eggs with two different solutions (FS2 and FS7) using a close system (Fill-FLOTAC) with 5% fixative. Kato-Katz was performed following WHO recommendation. The study was carried out in a rural part of Tanzania, close to Lake Victoria, where the laboratory facilities are fairly scarce, and the basic technique used in the local laboratory (direct smear) was taken as reference standard.

Results

201 children were screened for intestinal helminths and 91% of them were found to be positive. The agreement among the three techniques was calculated with k Cohen coefficient and was fairly good (k = 0.4), although the Mini-FLOTAC results were more sensitive for hookworm (98%) with FS2, and for S.mansoni (90%) with FS7 followed by Kato-Katz (91% and 60% respectively) and direct smear (30% and 10% respectively). A good agreement was found between Mini-FLOTAC and Kato-Katz (k = 0.81) with FS7 (k = 0.76) for hookworm diagnosis and a fairly good one for S.mansoni diagnosis (k = 0.5). For both infections we had a poor agreement between the two quantitative techniques and the direct smear (k<0.3). Kato-Katz diagnosed a higher number of eggs (calculated by arithmetic mean) both for hookworm (455 vs 424 EPG) and for S.mansoni (71 vs 58 EPG) compared with the Mini-FLOTAC, but the differences were not significant (p = 0.4).

Conclusions

Mini-FLOTAC is a promising technique, comparable and as sensitive as the Kato-Katz, which is the recommended method in intestinal helminthology for monitoring helminth control programmes. A comparative advantage of the Mini-FLOTAC is that it comprises of a closed system with preserved samples that both protects the operators and allows subsequent examination of the samples. Further studies are needed to validate the mini-FLOTAC with other quantitative techniques (McMaster) and in different settings where other soil-transmitted helminths are also endemic.

Keywords:
Soil-transmitted helminths; Mini-FLOTAC technique; Kato-Katz method; Lake Victoria Tanzania