Comparison of sedimentation and flotation techniques for identification of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts in a large outbreak of human diarrhea.

Journal of Clinical Microbiology (Impact Factor: 4.07). 11/1985; 22(4):587-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cryptosporidiosis, previously seen mostly among immunocompromised patients, is now recognized among immunocompetent patients. During a large outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in two day-care centers, we compared two procedures for the demonstration of the organism in preserved stool specimens. Of 703 stool specimens tested by both techniques, Sheather sucrose flotation (SSF) identified 127 (18.1%) as positive for Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts. Ritchie Formalin-ethyl acetate sedimentation (F/EA) plus a modified cold Kinyoun acid-fast stain (MCK) of the sediment identified 129 (18.4%) as positive for Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts. The degree of agreement between the two tests was statistically highly significant (P less than 0.0001). A total of 161 (22.9%) were positive by one technique or the other; 95 (13.5%) were positive by both techniques. A total of 32 specimens were positive by SSF but negative by F/EA plus MCK, and 34 specimens were positive by F/EA plus MCK but negative by SSF. The discrepancies between the two techniques occurred in stool specimens that contained rare to a few oocysts. Other parasitic forms were found by both techniques. F/EA plus trichrome staining recovered 126 (17.9%) specimens with Giardia lamblia, whereas SSF recovered only 42 (6.0%) specimens with G. lamblia. No association (chi 2 = 0.02, P = 0.89) was observed between the presence of G. lamblia and Cryptosporidium sp. in these stool specimens. We concluded that F/EA plus MCK of the sediment was as effective in the concentration and identification of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts as SSF. F/EA plus MCK may be advantageous as a single concentration method for general parasitology when Cryptosporidium sp. is also being sought.

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