Tests to confirm infestation with helminths

There are three tests that can confirm to an extent that one is or has recently been infected with hookworm or whipworm.

The Parasite & Ova Test

The first and most common is in practice useless for reasons I speculate about below. In most cases returning a negative result that is almost invariably false.

This is the simple Parasite & Ova test offered by pathology labs across the world.

In places like the USA, Canada, the EU, etc., where “no one” has helminth infestations lab techs do not have any real experience performing the test, they have likely only ever seen pictures of the ova they have to look for in textbooks.

They “know” the subject cannot be infested, and the test is very unpleasant to perform because it requires handling and being in close proximity to human excrement for over an hour.

I believe that as a result of these factors most samples submitted are binned almost immediately, or at best given a cursory examination.

For instance, I thought I had been unsuccessful in obtaining hookworm originally on the basis of 3 negative P&O tests taken at two-week intervals starting eight weeks after my return from Cameroon. This is what is recommended for P&O tests for hookworm.

Total cost of those three tests was over $200 and that was back in 2006, don’t waste your money or your time.

It was only when I realised my allergies appeared to be gone that I bought a microscope and taught myself how to do them. It takes a long time to get your eye in, (days not hours) and if I had not been very highly motivated there is no way I would have done it.

I had the advantage of working with my own excrement. That may not sound like much of an advantage to you, but having performed P&O tests on the excrement of others I can tell you that you are quite wrong.

I think they give one or two slides a cursory examination, at best, toss them in the bin,  check “Negative” confident they are dealing with one of Hulda Clarke’s, or similar, dupes, and go and wash vigorously with hand sanitiser for about twenty minutes.

I would expect that most of the P&O tests performed in North America are done so for people who are convinced, and there are many, that their health issues are the result of infection with all manner of parasites. Which that vile fraud Hulda Clarke and others offer purging tonics for.

To be absolutely clear, Hulda Clarke and her ilk are charlatans of the worst kind, preying on the sick using the dominant paradigm of disease origin, that is of infection or contamination, germ theory, to take advantage of people who are desperate and vulnerable.

Strong ELISA

The second is the Strong ELISA test, which looks for antibodies specific to hookworm or whipworm, or whatever. This test is rock solid, so long as it is performed competently, on a sample that has been handled and prepared, as well as conserved properly.

Bear in mind that we see an alarming number of screwed up blood tests, ones where our client’s doctor accepts a lab result uncritically, and starts a course of treatment based on said lab results. Lab results that could only be true were the subject dead.

I am not making this up.

The cause is often poor handling of the sample, using the wrong collection tube (with the wrong preservative), combined with obvious idiocy.

So as with any test, you would have to have a confirming one performed if the first was negative, or positive. Because just like where you work most of the people working in healthcare are doing their best…

As well, because the test does not prove the presence of the helminth you are looking for, but instead for antibodies, it is possible for someone to have lost their infection and show positive for as long as those antibodies remain in circulation.

Eosinophil level changes

The last of the three is to have your Eosinophil levels checked. Eosinophils are white blood cells that only* come out to play with helminths. Their concentration levels in blood rise from very low concentrations per ml of blood, say 30, in someone who has never been exposed to helminths, up to many hundreds, sometimes over a thousand or fifteen hundred per ml, about four to six weeks after first exposure. They plateau for four or five months before rapidly starting to decline around the end of month five, so that at the end of month six your levels would be just slightly above where they were preexposure.

*But eosinophil levels can be elevated for other reasons, giving false positives, and in fact elevated levels are associated with the atopic disorders, asthma, allergy, and eczema, as well as more exotic and deadly conditions.

The advantage of this test is that it is dead cheap, performed by machines, and cheap enough for you to have performed all the way along the curve showing you not only that you are infected, but that around five or six months those hookworm or whipworm are having a measurable impact on your immune system, because they have turned off the production of a type of white blood cell.

However it has the added drawback that even in someone who has hosted helminths for months each dose is likely, no one has ever looked at this so this is suppostion on my part, to cause a temporary bump in eosinophil levels.

What I recommend if you simply have to know

The best way to have the standard P&O test performed I think is to have a veterinarian do it. If you can talk one into it. They have the equipment, they are skilled in the test because they routinely do it. Cats and dogs get hookworm of their own, and high worm burdens can kill kittens.

Yes, kittens!

Far cheaper than the Strong ELISA, which you can have done by a lab out of Atlanta called Metametrix, (Metametrix appears to have disappeared). I think it is close to three or four hundred USD, plus shipping, but they can tell you  the cost, how long you would have to wait to submit a sample, probably about four months. 

But as I said, you should never rely on a single lab result for any medical decision you ever make, always ask for a retest. That makes this option very expensive, but worth it if you are making decisions about your health, and given the capacity for human error we have observed and that I describe elsewhere here when it comes to testing I would never conceive of proceeding with any course of healthcare on the basis of either a single test, or a single opinion.

What you should do if not gripped by compulsion

The fact is, having answered this question many, many times, is that if you’ve gotten the itch and a rash then you are infected, and will remain so for three years. That is unless you have innate immunity. If you do have innate immunity then our dosing protocol takes care of that, and it doesn’t matter.

But none of that is going to stop you obsessing, I’ve met your type before…

You might consider buying a microscope, but really, is that how you want to spend any of your free time?

Besides which having spent a day or two looking at shit on a sheet of glass, and convinced of your expertise you will tell me you don’t have an active infection, when you almost certainly do.

Yes, we will do stool tests for you, but are you going to be satisfied when the test is performed by the outfit selling you the organism? That and we charge for it now, because it is pointless and because we grew tired of performing pointless tests, often repeatedly, for a small group of obsessives. 

More to the point, is it how your current or any prospective partners are going to want to spend their weekends?