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Revista chilena de infectología

versión impresa ISSN 0716-1018


APT B, Werner et al. Guidelines for the Chagas disease: Part V. Laboratory diagnosis of Chagas disease. Rev. chil. infectol. [online]. 2008, vol.25, n.5, pp.378-383. ISSN 0716-1018.

In this fifth part of Guidelines for Chagas disease, diagnostic techniques for Trypanosoma cruzi infection in humans are reviewed, the interpretation of laboratory results and an algorithm for laboratory diagnosis in immunocompetent hosts are presented. Chagas disease may be diagnosed by three kinds of techniques: direct, which allow detect the presence of the parasite in different kind of samples; indirect, based on the search of immune specific response against T. cruzi antigens and molecular, which detect parasite genetic material. Direct techniques are utilized mamly in acute phase of disease, as the parasite is present in blood of infected host. These techniques do not require be confirmed by other methods. For chronic undetermined phase and for symptomatic phase it is recommended to use indirect techniques; generally, immunoassay techniques (ELISA) that detect IgG antibodies directed against T. cruzi antigens are performed. As false positive results are possible, a positive or undetermined result must be confirmed by at least another technique (indirect immunofluorescence or indirect hemmaglutination). In Chile, confirmation of infection is performed by the Instituto de Salud Pública National Reference Laboratory or at surrogate centers. Molecular methods may be used to make the diagnosis in acute or chronic phase of infection, with more accuracy in the acute phase, and it is mainly recommended to diagnose vertical transmission of T. cruzi as early diagnosis of congenital infection increases the possibility to cure the sibling and besides it is a good marker to evalúate the effectiveness of treatment.

Palabras clave : Chagas disease; American Trypanosomiasis; diagnosis; laboratory techniques.

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