TABLE 7.

Sensitivity and specificity of different laboratory tests for diagnosis of amebiasisa

TestSpecimenSensitivity (%)Specificity (%)Time requiredTechnical expertise requiredCost
Amebic colitisALA
Microscopy (wet mount/permanent stain)Stool25-60<1010-501-2 hYesLow
Liver abscess fluidNAb<25100
Antigen detection (ELISA)Stool>95Usually negative>953 hNoneLow
Serum65 (early)75 (late), 100 (early detection, before treatment)>90
ALA fluidNA100 (before treatment)90-100
Antibody detectionSerum (acute infection)75-8570-100>852-3 hFor certain antibody assaysLow
Serum (convalescent infection)>90>90Yes
Culture and isoenzymeStoolLower than that of antigen or PCR tests (problems in case of mixed infections)<25Gold standard1-2 wkYesHigh, labor-intensive
PCR-based assayscStool>90NA>901-2 daysYesHigh
Liver aspirateNA10090-100
  • a Data are from references 77, 90, 91, 188, and 215.

  • b NA, not available.

  • c PCR assay for cerebrospinal fluid (172).