RITM Immunology conducts training on Kato-Katz and FEA-SD for detection of schistosomiasis

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), through its National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Schistosomiasis under the Department of Immunology, conducted a three-day training on Kato-Katz and Formalin Ethyl-Acetate Sedimentation and Digestion (FEA-SD) Technique for the diagnosis of Human and Animal Schistosomiasis japonica at Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro from May 30 to June 1, 2023.

Participants and RITM facilitators of the three-day training at Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

The three-day coprologic diagnostic training was conducted as part of the initiatives of the Schistosomiasis Control and Elimination Program, with the aim of capacitating medical technologist, veterinarians, and laboratory personnel in performing Kato-Katz, and FEA-SD techniques for the diagnosis of human and animal schistosomiasis.

Schistosomiasis japonica, is a zoonotic disease of major public health concern in the endemic areas of the Philippines. As of 2018, the disease affects more than 12 million Filipinos with a national prevalence of 4.68%. The Schistosomiasis Control and Elimination Program aims to interrupt the transmission of schistosomiasis by reducing the incidence of infection in humans, animals, and snails to zero by 2025.

In humans, Schistosoma japonicum, the causative agent of schistosomiasis, affects multiple organs, including the liver, intestine, and in rare cases, the brain. Studies have also shown that schistosomiasis can cause growth retardation and anemia, as well as possible cognitive and memory impairment. In animals, the parasite can affect several mammalian hosts. In the country, the Philippine carabao is considered to be the most significant non-human host of S. japonicum. In some endemic areas, studies have found out that the prevalence of schistosomiasis in carabaos could reach as high as 90%.

In both human and animal hosts, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to limit the environmental contamination and to end the cycle of S. japonicum. Kato-Katz remains as the gold standard for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis in humans, while FEA-SD is widely used in animals.

Participants doing microscopy on their Kato-Katz and FEA-SD processed stool samples.

During the training, a total of 18 medical technologists, laboratory technicians/aides, and veterinarians from the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Health Office (PHO) and Municipal Health Offices (MHOs), Department of Agriculture Region IV-B, and RITM Veterinary Research Department (VRD), participated in lectures, demonstration, and hands-on activities.

RITM Immunology Department Head Dr. Mario Antonio Jiz II welcomed the participants and emphasized the public health importance of Schistosomiasis and of getting equipped with knowledge and skills on various diagnostic techniques on human and animal schistosomiasis. This was followed by lectures delivered by Dr. Daria Manalo from the RITM VRD and Mr. Joseph Valencia from the RITM Immunology Department.

Dr. Manalo delivered a lecture on animal schistosomiasis and its public health implication, while Mr. Valencia presented a lecture on Kato-Katz and FEA-SD principles.

Participants weighing carabao stool sample for FEA-SD.

After the lectures on Day 1 and Day 2, Mr. Valencia also conducted and facilitated demonstrations on the use of the Kato-Katz and FEA-SD procedures. This was followed by practice sessions and proper microscopy on the use of the two (2) techniques. A pre- and post-test examination, both theoretical and practical, were conducted after the demonstrations and microscopy to assess the participants’ learning.