Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Molecular diagnosis of multi Schistosome parasites from urine from school children in Zambia

Nilanjan (Nil) Lodh, PhD, MSc


BACKGROUND: In sub Saharan Africa two major human schistosomes namely Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium often occur sympatrically affecting largely children.  In the age group of 6-15 year’s infection prevalence and intensity peaks, which impacts the growth delays, delayed cognition, attention deficit and poor performance in school. Current available diagnostic tools, such as egg detection in stool by Kato-Katz (KK) for S. mansoni, detection of eggs or blood (haematuria) in urine for S. haematobium and detection of circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) lacks sensitivity in low intensity settings and the latter test produces false positive results.

GAP: We have detected S. mansoni and S. haematobium parasite specific small repeat DNA fragment from filtered urine on filter paper by PCR, which is superior in sensitivity and specificity to KK, haematuria and CCA.  We will optimize this test for Zambian school aged children in different endemic settings.

HYPOTHESIS: To develop and test a simplified, novel, molecular diagnostic approach for detecting two major schistosome parasites from school aged children independently and concurrently and develop a method that avoids working with fecal samples.

METHODS:  Urine and stool samples will be collected from three endemic regions (high, medium, and low) for both species approximately for 150 school children (4-8 years) per year for two years.  We will undertake a comparative testing approach, which will compare PCR with already established approaches (KK, CCA, haematuria).

RESULTS:   Latent class analysis will be used to the results to compare the various level of efficacy for the above mentioned test procedures.

Supervising Institution:
Marquette University

Clive Shiff

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