What is the sensitivity of a cellophane-tape exam for the diagnosis of pinworm infection (enterobiasis)?

Updated: Nov 21, 2018
  • Author: Sun Huh, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

A perianal cellophane swab or cellophane-tape examination should be used to detect Enterobius vermicularis eggs (see the image below). Egg detection is associated with false-positive rate of 5-11% and a false-negative rate of 70-95%. [9] One report found that a single cellophane-tape examination yielded a sensitivity of 50%, 3 examinations yielded a sensitivity of 90%, and 5 examinations yielded a sensitivity of 99%.

Microscopic view of Enterobius vermiculariseggs at Microscopic view of Enterobius vermiculariseggs attached to cellophane tape after a perianal swab from a child in kindergarten in Seoul, Korea. Egg size was 50-60 μm X 20-30 μm. The eggs are elongated and ovoid, distinctly compressed laterally, and flattened on one side.

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