An evaluation of the use of the histamine release test (HRT) in the diagnosis of human hydatidosis is presented. This technique, which makes it possible to evaluate directly IgE dependent immediate hypersensitivity by measuring the histamine released from leucocytes (basophils) after antigenic challenge, was compared with the detection of serum specific IgE by the radio-allergosorbent test (RAST), and with the determination of serum specific IgE by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Of the 54 patients with hydatidosis, all were positive according to HRT, 42 according to RAST and 47 according to ELISA. No false positive results were obtained by HRT in 43 patients with parasitosis other than hydatidosis, however, of these 43, 10 resulted in false positives according to RAST and five according to ELISA. It is concluded that HRT is more sensitive and more specific than RAST and ELISA.
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