Reliable and sensitive diagnostic tests are essential for all NTD control programmes, including those for worms.
All parasites have developed mechanisms for spreading to new individual hosts, for example by shedding eggs into the host faeces or urine, or releasing pre-larval stages into the blood stream to be ingested by blood-feeding vectors. Parasitological diagnosis of worm infections is commonly performed by identifying this stage of the life by microscopic examination of blood, faecal or urine samples. Antibody tests are also becoming increasingly available. These approaches are generally easy to use, cost-effective and allow for the high-throughput screening of large populations, whilst having sufficient performance for to detect changes in the prevalence and intensity of infection. They are however known to have low sensitivity, especially at low infection intensities, a problem of increasing importance as programmes get closer to elemination goals.
Watch video tutorials developed by Jimma University in Ethiopia and Ghent University in Belgium which provide detailed information on how to perform both traditional and newly developed methods to diagnose and quantify infections in stool, including Kato-Katz thick smear, McMaster egg counting method and Mini-FLOTAC.