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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 278246, 15 pages
Review Article

Diagnosis of Parasitic Diseases: Old and New Approaches

National Reference Centre for Parasitology, McGill University Centre for Tropical Diseases, Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Avenue R3-137, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1A4

Received 31 May 2009; Accepted 29 August 2009

Academic Editor: Herbert B. Tanowitz

Copyright © 2009 Momar Ndao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Methods for the diagnosis of infectious diseases have stagnated in the last 20–30 years. Few major advances in clinical diagnostic testing have been made since the introduction of PCR, although new technologies are being investigated. Many tests that form the backbone of the “modern” microbiology laboratory are based on very old and labour-intensive technologies such as microscopy for malaria. Pressing needs include more rapid tests without sacrificing sensitivity, value-added tests, and point-of-care tests for both high- and low-resource settings. In recent years, research has been focused on alternative methods to improve the diagnosis of parasitic diseases. These include immunoassays, molecular-based approaches, and proteomics using mass spectrometry platforms technology. This review summarizes the progress in new approaches in parasite diagnosis and discusses some of the merits and disadvantages of these tests.