Abstract

The existence of wild rodents naturally infected by Schistosoma mansoni is a drawback for schistosomiasis control programs. As a consequence, it is necessary to have a precise diagnosis of S. mansoni infection in wild rodents (water rats; Nectomys squamipes), the species seemingly involved in the transmission of schistosomiasis at Sumindouro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 78 specimens of N. squamipes was captured in an endemic area at Vale do Pamparrão and Porteira Verde, Sumidouro, Brazil; 5 more were born in captivity and experimentally infected. The sensitivity and specificity of the coprological method of Kato-Katz and serological methods, i.e., enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot (WB), were compared. The rodents were subsequently killed and necropsied to confirm infection. The prevalences observed using ELISA (48%) and WB (41%) were equivalent to those found at necropsy (41%). The ELISA showed a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 87%, whereas the WB showed a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 89%. The Kato-Katz method exhibited 50% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The differences found among the ELISA, WB, and necropsy, when compared with Kato-Katz, may be related to the low sensitivity of the coprological method. Serological methods should be used for more reliable epidemiological information.

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