Application of a universal parasite diagnostic test to biological specimens collected from animals

Lane, Meredith, Kashani, Mitra, Barratt, Joel L.N., Qvarnstrom, Yvonne, Yabsley, Michael J., Garrett, Kayla B., and Bradbury, Richard S. (2023) Application of a universal parasite diagnostic test to biological specimens collected from animals. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 20. pp. 20-30.

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A previously described universal parasite diagnostic (nUPDx) based on PCR amplification of the 18S rDNA and deep-amplicon sequencing, can detect human blood parasites with a sensitivity comparable to real-time PCR. To date, the efficacy of this assay has only been assessed on human blood. This study assessed the utility of nUPDx for the detection of parasitic infections in animals using blood, tissues, and other biological sample types from mammals, birds, and reptiles, known to be infected with helminth, apicomplexan, or pentastomid parasites (confirmed by microscopy or PCR), as well as negative samples. nUPDx confirmed apicomplexan and/or nematode infections in 24 of 32 parasite-positive mammals, while also identifying several undetected coinfections. nUPDx detected infections in 6 of 13 positive bird and 1 of 2 positive reptile samples. When applied to 10 whole parasite specimens (worms and arthropods), nUPDx identified all to the genus or family level, and detected one incorrect identification made by morphology. Babesia sp. infections were detected in 5 of the 13 samples that were negative by other diagnostic approaches. While nUPDx did not detect PCR/microscopy-confirmed trichomonads or amoebae in cloacal swabs/tissue from 8 birds and 2 reptiles due to primer template mismatches, 4 previously undetected apicomplexans were detected in these samples. Future efforts to improve the utility of the assay should focus on validation against a larger panel of tissue types and animal species. Overall, nUPDx shows promise for use in both veterinary diagnostics and wildlife surveillance, especially because species-specific PCRs can miss unknown or unexpected pathogens.

Item ID: 81799
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2213-2244
Keywords: Diagnosis, High throughput sequencing, Illumina, Parasite, Veterinary, Wildlife
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 02:29
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320704 Medical parasitology @ 30%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300909 Veterinary parasitology @ 70%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280103 Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences @ 100%
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