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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 706105, 6 pages
Research Article

A Comparison of Nested PCR Assay with Conventional Techniques for Diagnosis of Intestinal Cryptosporidiosis in AIDS Cases from Northern India

Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110002, India

Received 6 August 2013; Accepted 29 October 2013; Published 12 January 2014

Academic Editor: Wej Choochote

Copyright © 2014 Beena Uppal et al. 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.


Cryptosporidiosis is a very important opportunistic infection and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in HIV/AIDS patients. Although current laboratory methods are generally considered adequate to detect high concentrations of oocysts, they fail to detect cases of cryptosporidiosis in many immunocompromised patients. The present study was done to determine the diagnostic efficacy of modified Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN), antigen detection ELISA, and a nested PCR assay for detection of Cryptosporidium in 58 adult AIDS cases with diarrhea from the ART clinic of Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi. Cryptosporidium was detected in 17 (29.4%), 39 (67.3%), and 45 (77.5%) cases by modified ZN staining, antigen ELISA, and nested PCR assay, respectively. Taking nested PCR as the gold standard, specificity of both modified ZN staining and Cryptosporidium antigen detection ELISA was 100% while the sensitivity of the tests was 37.8% and 86.6%, respectively. PCR was more sensitive than the other two diagnostic modalities but required a more hands-on time per sample and was more expensive than microscopy. PCR, however, was very adaptable to batch analysis, reducing the costs considerably. This assay can therefore have considerable advantages in the treatment of immunosuppressed individuals like AIDS patients, allowing their early diagnosis and decreasing the morbidity and the mortality.