Evaluation of polymerase chain reaction technique in confirming urinary schistosomiasis among rice farmers in parts of Kaduna State, Nigeria
Schistosomiasis is a prevalent water-based parasitic disease, ranking second to malaria and killing an estimated 280,000 people each year in the African region alone. The application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as a technique was evaluated on filtered urine residues of 12 randomly selected rice farmers from some parts of Kaduna State, Nigeria. The urine samples were screened for ova of Schistosoma haematobium by microscopy after filtration using polycarbonate membrane filters (Sterlitech, Kent, WA, USA) of pore size 12 μm and 13 mm in diameter. Microscopy revealed a prevalence of 33.3% (4/12). All samples were further subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for amplification of the schistosome Dra1 repeat. PCR recorded an overall infectivity rate of 66.7% (8/12) among the rice farmers. Four out of the ova negative samples were confirmed to have the Dra1 repeat hence, making them positive for Schistosoma haematobium. Based on these findings, it can therefore be concluded that PCR can be especially useful in diagnosis of infections in nanograms. This will help in assessing the transmission potential of rice farmers living in low endemic areas and improve the effectiveness of surveillance of mass drug administration (MDA) control programmes as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Keywords: PCR technique; schistomosiasis; rice farmers