Parasitology

Research Article

Relationship between faecal egg count and worm burden of Opisthorchis viverrini in human autopsy cases

P. Sithithaworna1, S. Tesanaa1, V. Pipitgoola1, S. Kaewkesa1, C. Pairojkula2, B. Sripaa2, A. Paupairoja2 and K. Thaiklara1

a1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand

a2 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand

Abstract

The relationship between faecal examination for egg output and worm burden of Opisthorchis viverrini in man of 181 autopsy cases from Northeast Thailand is described. Diagnosis of the parasite infection by stool examination for the presence of eggs was less sensitive than the worm recovery technique. Using Stoll's dilution and formalin–ether technique, no eggs were detected in the faeces of 20 cases harbouring low worm burdens (< 20 worms). The quantitative faecal egg count by Stoll's dilution technique showed a strikingly close positive correlation with the number of worms recovered (r = 0·96, P < 0·001) indicating a strong linear association between eggs per gram of faeces (epg) and worm burden. The number of epg per worm was inversely correlated to the worm burden (P < 0·001), suggesting that density-dependent constraints on fecundity could operate to restrict egg output in heavy infections. The accuracy of egg counts for estimating worm burden and its relevance to parasite epidemiological research are discussed.

(Received June 23 1990)

(Revised October 02 1990)

(Accepted October 02 1990)

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