Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 11, pp 3567–3573 | Cite as

Formalin-ethyl acetate concentration, FLOTAC Pellet and anal swab techniques for the diagnosis of intestinal parasites

  • Paola CociancicEmail author
  • Laura Rinaldi
  • María Lorena Zonta
  • Graciela Teresa Navone
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to compare formalin-ethyl acetate concentration and FLOTAC Pellet techniques for the diagnosis of intestinal parasites in human stool samples. The anal swab method was used for the specific detection of Enterobius vermicularis. The study was performed in children and youth from Puerto Madryn (South Argentina). A total of 174 individuals were examined using the formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique (FECT), the FLOTAC Pellet technique with saturated sodium chloride and zinc sulphate flotation solutions and anal swabs. The performance of copromicroscopic techniques was evaluated according to sensitivity, negative predictive value and Kappa index. Overall, 39.1% of the individuals were parasitised. The most prevalent species was Blastocystis sp. (19%) followed by E. vermicularis (17.8%), Giardia lamblia (6.3%), Entamoeba coli (5.7%), Hymenolepis nana and Endolimax nana (1.1%). The FECT was the most sensitive technique for Blastocystis sp., G. lamblia and E. coli infections, whereas FLOTAC Pellet techniques were the most sensitive for H. nana diagnosis. Anal swabs detected the highest percentage of E. vermicularis infection. This was the first time that the FLOTAC Pellet technique was used to detect intestinal parasites in humans. The FECT continues to be a reliable method for detecting protozoa and the FLOTAC Pellet technique gains importance in the diagnosis of helminths. Anal swab test remains the method of choice for the detection of E. vermicularis. However, when comparing techniques, key factors as preservation methods, preservation times and flotation solutions should be taken into account.


Intestinal parasite Diagnosis Formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique FLOTAC technique Anal swabs 



The authors are grateful to the local authorities, the education community and the individuals participating in this study for their active cooperation. We are also thankful to Graciela Minardi for her advice on statistical analysis, Cecilia Carballo for her help with the laboratory techniques and Pilar Martínez for her assistance with the English revision of the manuscript.


This study was funded by national projects (UNLP N759, PIP CONICET N734).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical aspects

The study was carried out without affecting the physical, psychic and moral integrity of the participants and securing their identity. The present research was evaluated and approved by the Comité de Ética de la Escuela Latinoamericana de Bioética (CELABE) under Resolution No. 003, Record No. 73. The study was conducted attending the principles proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the ethical standards established by the Nüremberg Code (1947), the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and its successive amendments. Special attention was also paid to Article 5 of the Regulation Decree of National Law 25.326.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE-CONICET-UNLP)La PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal ProductionsUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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