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Detection of enteric parasite DNA in household and bed dust samples: potential for infection transmission.

Mejia, R; Seco-Hidalgo, V; Garcia-Ramon, D; Calderón, E; Lopez, A; Cooper, PJ (2020) Detection of enteric parasite DNA in household and bed dust samples: potential for infection transmission. Parasit Vectors, 13 (1). p. 141. ISSN 1756-3305
SGUL Authors: Cooper, Philip John

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BACKGROUND: Enteric parasites are transmitted in households but few studies have sampled inside households for parasites and none have used sensitive molecular methods. METHODS: We collected bed and living room dust samples from households of children participating in a clinical trial of anthelmintic treatment in rural coastal Ecuador. Dust was examined for presence of DNA specific for 11 enteric parasites (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, Strongyloides stercoralis, Toxocara canis and T. cati, Giardia lamblia, Blastocystis hominis, Cryptosporidium spp., and Entamoeba histolytica) by quantitative PCR (qPCR). RESULTS: Of the 38 households sampled, 37 had positive dust for at least one parasite and up to 8 parasites were detected in single samples. Positivity was greatest for B. hominis (79% of household samples) indicating a high level of environmental fecal contamination. Dust positivity rates for individual pathogens were: S. stercoralis (52%), A. lumbricoides (39%), G. lamblia (39%), Toxocara spp. (42%), hookworm (18%) and T. trichiura (8%). DNA for Cryptosporidium spp. and E. histolytica was not detected. Bed dust was more frequently positive than floor samples for all parasites detected. Positivity for A. lumbricoides DNA in bed (adjusted OR: 10.0, 95% CI: 2.0-50.1) but not floor dust (adjusted OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 0.3-37.9) was significantly associated with active infections in children. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first use of qPCR on environmental samples to detect a wide range of enteric pathogen DNA. Our results indicate widespread contamination of households with parasite DNA and raise the possibility that beds, under conditions of overcrowding in a humid tropical setting, may be a source of transmission.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Beds, Dust, Ecuador, Enteric parasites, Environment, Floors, Protozoa, Soil-transmitted helminths, Transmission, 1108 Medical Microbiology, 1117 Public Health and Health Services, Tropical Medicine, Mycology & Parasitology
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Infection and Immunity Research Institute (INII)
Journal or Publication Title: Parasit Vectors
ISSN: 1756-3305
Language: eng
18 March 2020Published
10 March 2020Accepted
Publisher License: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Project IDFunderFunder ID
060120/Z/99/CWellcome Trust
D34HP31024US Department of Health and Human ServicesUNSPECIFIED
UIDE-2017 to VSHUniversidad Internacional del EcuadorUNSPECIFIED
PubMed ID: 32188497
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