Strongyloides stercoralis infection is prevalent worldwide and can cause lifelong infection in immunocompetent individuals, and potentially death in immunosuppressed patients. The diagnosis is hindered by the low sensitivity of microscopic examination, thus making serology an important complementary test to improve the detection rate. However, there were reports that some Strongyloides-infected individuals were negative with specific IgG and IgG4 assays, and other helminth infections were positive with commercial Strongyloides IgG-ELISAs. Thus, there is a need to develop better serodiagnostic methods for strongyloidiasis. We investigated the diagnostic potential of IgE-ELISAs using Strongyloides larval lysate. Sera from two groups infected with Strongyloides served as the positive reference, that is, 1) positive by commercial IgG-ELISAs and IgG4 rapid test, and stool samples positive by microscopy and/or PCR (group IA; n = 20); and 2) negative by IgG-ELISAs and IgG4 rapid test, but stool samples were PCR positive (group IB sera; n = 11). Sera from another two groups served as negative reference (controls), that is, 1) infected with other parasites (group II; n = 73) and 2) healthy donors (group III; n = 22). Results showed a 100% diagnostic sensitivity in detecting sera from groups IA and IB. The latter group of individuals probably had early infection because their IgG and IgG4 assays were negative. The optical density values of group IB sera were also significantly lower than those of group IA (P < 0.003). The IgE-ELISA was 100% specific when tested against sera from groups II and III. This study highlights the diagnostic potential of IgE-ELISA using larval lysate to detect strongyloidiasis, especially those with probable early infection.
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