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Evaluation of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cystic Echinococcosis Indirect Hemagglutination Test Dynamics: A Single-center Experience

Turkiye Parazitol Derg. 2023 Sep 18;47(3):166-170. doi: 10.4274/tpd.galenos.2023.42104.


OBJECTIVE: Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is one of the neglected tropical diseases announced by the World Health Organization. In the period entered with the Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, the fight against such diseases has become even more difficult. In our study, we aimed to make inferences about the effects of the pandemic on the diagnosis of the disease by evaluating the number and results of CE indirect hemagglutination test (IHA) before and during the pandemic.

METHODS: The number of IHA test requests and positivity rates in the 30-month periods before and after March 11, 2020, when the first case was seen in our country, were evaluated retrospectively. Statistical analysis was made with SPSS version 23 (SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA) program.

RESULTS: The results of 1444 patients before the pandemic and 870 patients during the pandemic period were examined. The difference between IHA positivity rates, which was found to be 18.49% before the pandemic and 14.6% during the pandemic, was statistically significant (p=0.016). The positivity rates of women and men were found to be statistically similar in both periods (pbefore=0.621, pafter=0.238). The age group with the highest IHA positivity rate was 20-39 in both periods, and the difference between the positivity rates of the age groups was statistically significant (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: A significant decrease was observed in the rate of IHA positivity during the pandemic period. The status of no increase in positivity rates despite a significant decrease in IHA tests makes us think that the diagnosis may be missed in some patients or that there could be disruptions in their follow-up. For this reason, in order to continue the fight successfully against CE, which is an important public health problem for our country, early diagnosis and regular follow-ups should be emphasized with educations, and the laboratory-clinician communication should be strengthened in order to use tests more efficiently.

PMID:37724366 | DOI:10.4274/tpd.galenos.2023.42104

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