Schistosomiasis remains a serious world-wide public health problem with a still unfulfilled need for routine cost-effective methods of diagnosis. Such methods are required not only for people in endemic areas, but increasingly for tourists who may have become infected during visits to such places. This article reviews the wide range of immunoassays and antigenic preparations that have been shown to have potential for diagnosis of schistosomiasis by the indirect method of antibody detection. Antigens in native form derived from cercariae, adult worms and eggs are considered, as well as schistosome antigens produced by recombinant DNA technology and the schistosome cross-reactive antigen, keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH). Respective advantages and disadvantages of antibody detection, circulating antigen detection and parasitological methods of diagnosis are analysed. It is suggested that due to the relative insensitivity of both parasitology and antigen detection, antibody detection methods could find increasing use in situations of low infection intensity.
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