What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis (bilharzia)?

Updated: Sep 20, 2018
  • Author: Shadab Hussain Ahmed, MD, AAHIVS, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Blood tests are occasionally useful in supporting the diagnosis or assessing the severity of schistosomal infection. Serologies and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay–based testing can confirm a diagnosis. [40, 41] Considerations in laboratory testing include the following:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) - May reveal peripheral eosinophilia, particularly in acute infection and/or anemia

  • Increased alkaline phosphatase level and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) level - Are observed with hepatic granulomatosis

  • Transaminase levels - Generally are not affected, and elevations are usually caused by coexisting hepatitis

  • Renal function - May be decreased if obstructive nephropathy is severe

  • Blood cultures - Are indicated for patients with persistent or recurrent fever and for persons who may have developed recurrent Salmonella infection with severe enteric schistosomiasis


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