Indexed on: 29 Oct '04Published on: 29 Oct '04Published in: Journal of clinical pathology
To find out whether serology can reliably speciate human schistosomiasis using a simple enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique.Stored sera from 66 patients with microscopically confirmed schistosomiasis were subjected to ELISA using a panel of three antigens, namely: unfractionated Schistosoma mansoni soluble egg antigen (SEA); CEF6, a cationic fraction of SEA; and crude S margrebowiei egg antigen, prepared from an animal schistosome closely related to S haematobium.The optical densities (ODs) obtained using CEF6 as antigen were significantly higher in sera from S mansoni infected patients than in sera from S haematobium infected patients (median OD, 0.810 v 0.595). Using S margrebowiei egg antigen, the optical densities were significantly higher in S haematobium sera than in S mansoni sera (median OD, 0.794 v 0.544). There was no significant difference in optical densities between S mansoni and S haematobium sera using SEA (median OD, 0.725 v 0.737). The ratio of ODs (CEF6 to S margrebowiei egg antigen) was calculated: a ratio of >1 indicated S mansoni infection (sensitivity, 88%) and a ratio of <1 indicated S haematobium infection (sensitivity, 84%). The odds ratio for S haematobium having an OD ratio of <1 was 36.8 (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 194).The identity of the infecting species of schistosome can be determined using the panel of antigens described. SEA should be used to screen serum samples, and the CEF6 : S margrebowiei egg antigen ELISA optical density ratio can be used where serological speciation is required.