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Free Content Polymerase chain reaction-based differential diagnosis of Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus infections in humans in northern Ghana

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We evaluated a two-step semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based approach for the specific detection of Ancylostoma duodenale DNA in human faeces. The test was used to determine to what extent this species of hookworm is present in the regions of Bolgatanga and Garu of northern Ghana. Initially, the sensitivity and specificity of the PCR were tested using a range of well-defined control samples. Subsequently, a total of 378 human faecal DNA samples from Bolgatanga and Garu were subjected to the PCR. The results were compared with those obtained using a previously established PCR for the specific detection of Necator americanus DNA in human faeces. Infection with A. duodenale was recorded in 74 (19.6%) samples and N. americanus in 278 (73.5%), of which 64 (16.9%), represented co-infections with both species. While A. duodenale was predominantly detected in the samples from Bolgatanga, infections in Garu related almost exclusively to N. americanus. The results showed that the present PCR approach is a valuable complementary tool for the diagnosis of A. duodenale infection in humans in Ghana, having implications for epidemiological studies and for the monitoring of the success of control programmes in regions in Africa.
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Keywords: Ancylostoma duodenale; Necator americanus; PCR; differential diagnosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Parasitology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands 2: Department of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 3: University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, Ghana 4: Ministry of Health, Upper East Region, Bolgatanga, Ghana

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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