The diagnostic value of a real-time PCR assay for the detection of Cryptosporidium spp. in fecal samples was assessed as compared to the combination of the immunocromatographic assay (IC) and immunofluorescence assay (IF) currently performed in our laboratory for the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. On a total of 1040 samples collected from 2006 to 2010 and belonging to 533 patients suspected of having an intestinal parasitosis, Cryptosporidium spp. was detected in 31 samples (belonging to 12 patients) by IC and IF; the real-time PCR assay revealed Cryptosporidium spp. DNA in 5 additional samples for a total of 36 samples (13 patients). The real-time PCR assay exhibited higher sensitivity than IC and IF; however, its application to the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis should be evaluated by every single laboratory, depending on the availability of trained personnel, financial resources, and the cost/effectiveness related to the prevalence of cryptosporidiosis.
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