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Laboratory Diagnosis of Tick-Borne Infections

Part 2


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Advantages/Uses of PCR

Slide 20

July 2010

So, I thought that this case nicely highlights some of the advantages and potential uses of PCR in this setting. First, it allowed for confirmation of the morphologic identification which was made on the conventional blood smear. And this allowed for differentiation between similar appearing organisms, given that Plasmodium falciparum was in the differential diagnosis. Another potential advantage to PCR is that it may allow for detection of low parasitemia that could be missed on a peripheral blood smear. And in general, PCR is more sensitive than peripheral blood smear for detection of intra-erythrocytic parasites.

The use of PCR also fits into the IDSA guidelines that I had mentioned previously, which state that active babesiosis should be diagnosed by the clinical presentation – in this case, viral -like symptoms AND identification of parasites in the blood by either smear or PCR. Now, because patients may have persistent antibodies to babesia from prior exposure, serology alone does not warrant treatment for babesiosis.

Advantages/Uses of PCR


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