U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Molecular & Biochemical Parasitology 185 (2012) 174– 176; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2012.08.002


The life cycle of the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis involves rats as the definitive host and slugs and snails as intermediate hosts. Humans can become infected upon ingestion of intermediate or paratenic (passive carrier) hosts containing stage L3 A. cantonensis larvae. Here, we report a quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay that provides a reliable, relative measure of parasite load in intermediate hosts. Quantification of the levels of infection of intermediate hosts is critical for determining A. cantonensis intensity on the Island of Hawaii. The identification of high intensity infection ‘hotspots’ will allow for more effective targeted rat and slug control measures. qPCR appears more efficient and sensitive than microscopy and provides a new tool for quantification of larvae from intermediate hosts, and potentially from other sources as well.