Poster Presentation 64th International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association 2015

Can oral examinations and diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminthes be combined? (#197)

Katalina Z. Brenes 1 , Amy Beierschmitt 1 2 , Michel Vandenplas 1 , Silvia Marchi 1 , Jennifer Ketzis 1
  1. One Health Center, ROSS University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Frigate Bay, BASSETERRE, Saint Kitts and Nevis
  2. Behavioural Sciences Foundation, Behavioral Sciences Foundation, Estridge Estate, Saint Kitts and Nevis

An estimated two billion people, predominately children, are infected with soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH). Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale are the most common species. Diagnosis of infection is predominately based on fecal examination. However, mass deworming, hygiene education and sanitation of school age children is used as a prevention measure with no previous examination. Some reasons for a lack of fecal examination are cost, time and cultural sensitivities regarding fecal collection. This lack of screening means limited information on prevalence and ability to assess if prevention measures are effective. While people might be reluctant to collect their feces, many countries have international dental aid where children receive free examinations. This represents an opportunity to collect saliva and oral smears for STH testing. STH eggs have been found in oral mucosa smears and STH antibodies have been detected in saliva. African green monkeys (AGM) on St. Kitts are infected with T. Trichuira, providing a unique opportunity to evaluate alternative diagnostic methods. In this study, AGM will be used as an animal model to compare fecal examination, saliva antibodies and oral smears. In addition, antibodies will be tested post-treatment of AGM to determine how antibodies correlate to fecal egg counts. Our ultimate goal would be to create a point-of-care diagnostic or screening tool to overcome sensitivities and time constraints associated with common diagnostic methods. This One-Health initiative has the potential to be used with other Neglected Tropical Diseases.