Screening for fecal cryptosporidium antigen is used for the diagnosis and laboratory documentation of intestinal cryptosporidiosis.
Cryptosporidiums (Cryptosporidium parvum) are protozoa of the coccidia group which are common parasites in farm animals and can infect and survive in surface water. Cryptosporidium has a worldwide distribution and can be found in surface water, swimming pools, day care centers, and hospitals. Human infection occurs through the faecal-oral route or the consumption of contaminated water. The precise mechanism by which the microorganism causes gastroenteritis is unknown.
Cryptosporidiosis occurs as severe diarrhea in immunosuppressed AIDS patients and as self-limiting mild diarrhea in young children.
The parasite is protected by an outer shell, which allows it to survive outside the host for long periods of time and makes it highly resistant. Boiling is the most common method of eliminating the parasite from water. In contrast, hand antiseptic gels have no effect on the micro-organism.
Cryptosporidium parvum can be detected by simple fecal parasitological examination, but the specificity and sensitivity of the method is low and may require up to 3 or more samples to make a diagnosis. Instead, direct screening of faeces for the presence of cryptosporidium antigens using an enzyme-linked immunoassay is a faster, more sensitive, and more effective method for detecting the parasite.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.