Examining a muscle biopsy constitutes the definitive test for trichinellosis. False negative biopsy results may occur if the patient is only lightly infected or the analysis might have been performed too early after infection.
The serological test available for the detection of circulating Trichinella antigens are not widely used for human diagnosis. In general indirect methods are applied, that is, they are geared at the detection of specific antibodies. Various assays have been applied for detection of specific antibodies such as complement-fixation, bentonite flocculation, latex agglutination indirect haemagglutination, counterimmunoelectrophoresis, IFL, and ELISA (Ljungstrom, 1983). The most common assays in Europe are those employing labelled antibodies which have the advantage that the various antibody isotypes can be determined and differentiated from the overall humoral response. By determination of specific IgM, IgA and IgG it is possible to distinguish between acute and past infection (Ljungstrom et al. 1988). The diagnosis is improved by the application of at least two serological diagnostic methods. The various antigens are presented in the chapter on Trichinella.
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