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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    ABSTRACT: Cryptosporidiosis is an infectious disease caused by the coccidian parasite Cryptosporidium spp. that primarily infects the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Prior to late 1982, only 11 cases of human infection had been reported, with the first human case reported in 1976. During the 1980s, the number of human cases began to rise dramatically. Most of these patients were immunodeficient, many of whom had the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Immunocompetent individuals can also acquire the infection with mild-to-severe diarrhea lasting from several days to weeks. Immunocompromised patients develop severe, irreversible diarrhea, often thought to be a significant contributing factor leading to death. Although many therapeutic compounds have been tried, none have proven to be very successful. The incidence of this infection is worldwide, with many published reports of infection in both immunodeficient and immunocompetent individuals. The diagnostic approach has been expanded to include stool examinations using modified acid fast procedures and fluorescent monoclonal antibody reagents. Although histological methods are still routinely used for biopsy specimens, the examination of stool has proven to be a very effective, noninvasive procedure. In addition to the gastrointestinal tract, other areas of the body that have been found to be infected with this organism include the respiratory tract and the biliary tree and gall bladder epithelium. Screening for this organism may become very important in known risk groups (animal handlers; children, staff members, and contacts of those who attend day care centers; travelers; and those who are immunodeficient), particularly if an effective therapy is found. Some laboratories screen every specimen submitted for an ova and parasite examination, while others have limited their testing to specific requests, risk groups, and those patients who are symptomatic.
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