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Pulmonary toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients with interstitial pneumonia: a single-centre prospective study assessing PCR-based diagnosis


Aims Pulmonary toxoplasmosis has become a very rare parasitic infection since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapies. It is generally diagnosed by the direct microscopic observation of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). The aim of this study was to assess possible improvements in diagnostic performance associated with the use of real-time PCR.

Methods This prospective study was carried out on BALFs obtained from immunocompromised patients over a 2-year period. We systematically compared the results of conventional staining with those of molecular detection.

Results Two cases of pulmonary toxoplasmosis were diagnosed for a total of 336 samples. PCR did not detect any additional cases and was more time-consuming than conventional staining.

Conclusions Conventional staining is a reliable technique and is probably the most appropriate method for experienced microbiology laboratories, whereas T. gondii-specific PCR may be useful for laboratories with less experience in parasitology.

Trial registration number 2015_030, May 27th 2015.

  • PCR
  • LUNG

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