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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 761269, 4 pages
Review Article

The Importance of Definitive Diagnosis in Chronic Schistosomiasis, with Reference to Schistosoma haematobium

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

Received 6 January 2012; Accepted 9 April 2012

Academic Editor: Francisca Mutapi

Copyright © 2012 Clive Shiff. 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.


Schistosomes are long-lived parasites, hence schistosomiasis is a chronic disease with severe long-term implications. However, definitive diagnosis of active infection has been difficult because demonstration of infection has depended on detecting parasite eggs in urine and/or stool. In the case of Schistosoma haematobium which parasitizes the urinogenital system, this method has low sensitivity in adults. Detection of parasite-specific DNA in urine has been demonstrated and this has similar specificity but improved sensitivity. The implications of this new procedure and the impact on diagnosis are discussed.