ABSTRACT: Species-specific identification of human tapeworm infections is important for public health purposes, because prompt identification of Taenia solium carriers may prevent further human cysticercosis infections (a major cause of acquired epilepsy). Two practical methods for the differentiation of cestode proglottids, (i) routine embedding, sectioning, and hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining and (ii) PCR with restriction enzyme analysis (PCR-REA), were tested on samples from 40 individuals infected with T. solium (n = 34) or Taenia saginata (n = 6). Microscopic examination of HE staining of sections from 24 cases, in which conserved proglottids were recovered, clearly revealed differences in the number of uterine branches. Distinct restriction patterns for T. solium and T. saginata were observed when the PCR products containing the ribosomal 5.8S gene plus internal transcribed spacer regions were digested with either AluI, DdeI, or MboI. Both HE histology and PCR-REA are useful techniques for differentiating T. solium from T. saginata. Importantly, both techniques can be used in zones of endemicity. HE histology is inexpensive and is currently available in most regions of endemicity, and PCR-REA can be performed in most hospital centers already performing PCR without additional equipment or the use of radioactive material.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 01/2000; 38(1):133-7. · 4.15 Impact Factor