Giardia diagnostic methods in human fecal samples: A comparative study


  • El-Nahas HA, Salem DA, El-Henawy AA, El-Nimr HI, Abdel-Ghaffar HA, El-Meadawy HA. Giardia Diagnostic Methods in Human Fecal Samples: A Comparative Study. Cytometry Part B 2013; 84B: 44–49.


Several methods were tried for Giardia detection in stool. This study aimed to compare between the results of ordinary microscopy, direct immunofluorescence assay (DIF), and flow cytometry (FC) for the detection of Giardia cyst in human stool samples. The study included 84 children recruited from outpatient clinics of Mansoura University Children Hospital. Fecal samples were processed and examined for Giardia cysts using conventional microscopy, DIF, and FC. Among 84 fecal samples, 40 (47.6%) were diagnosed as Giardia-positive by saline wet mount, while DIF and FC detected 52 (61.9%), and 38 (45%) Giardia-positive cases, respectively. When compared with DIF as a gold standard method, ordinary microscopy had 76.9% sensitivity and 100% specificity while the FC had a sensitivity of 73.1% and 100% specificity, with statistically significant differences between DIF and the other two methods (P < 0.05). DIF was able to detect as few as 500 cysts/g of concentrated stool, yielding a threshold higher than ordinary microscopy (1,800 cyst/g) even after concentration. It is concluded that direct microscopic examination is reliable in Giardia diagnosis as a first choice test. DIF is an excellent technique in clinically suspected cases after negative microscopy. FC was found to be less sensitive to obtain accurate organisms' count but it could be an effective alternative method for the detection of Giardia cysts, especially for large-scale epidemiological studies or extensive surveillance programs as it has the beneficial attribute of speed and do not depend on an experienced microscope viewer. However, DIF remains the gold standard while FC still requires significant technical improvements before it can compete with DIF for Giardia diagnosis. © 2012 International Clinical Cytometry Society