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Trichinellosis
Diagnosis

Diagnostic methods

Parasitological diagnosis
In most cases, parasitological diagnosis is not possible. Muscle biopsy is only recommended in cases for which serology is not conclusive.
At the diarrhoeal stage, adults and larvae may be occasionally found in stool samples.

Molecular diagnosis

Molecular diagnosis allows the differentiation of newly described Trichinella species other than T. spiralis for which humans can be an accidental host.

Antigen detection

Tests detecting copro-antigens have recently been developed. They seem to be diagnostically important in the early phase of an infection when serology is still negative.

Antibody detection
Many serological tests (in various test formats, of which ELISA seems to be the most sensitive) are available. The use of excretory/secretory antigens is preferred to crude worm extracts. Immunoblotting can confirm the result of the screening test.
Seroconversion occurs 3–5 weeks after infection. Antibodies titres can persist for years after the acute phase of infection. They do not correlate with the clinical course of infection.

 

Diagnostic strategies

Diagnosis is based on clinical grounds and on serological tests which have to be selected for the specific diagnostic aim.

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