The importance of hands in the transmission of soil transmitted helminths, especially Ascaris and Trichuris infections, is under-researched. This is partly because of the absence of a reliable method to quantify the number of eggs on hands. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a method to assess the number of Ascaris eggs on hands and determine the egg recovery rate of the method. Under laboratory conditions, hands were seeded with a known number of Ascaris eggs, air dried and washed in a plastic bag retaining the washing water, in order to determine recovery rates of eggs for four different detergents (cationic [benzethonium chloride 0.1% and cetylpyridinium chloride CPC 0.1%], anionic [7X 1% - quadrafos, glycol ether, and dioctyl sulfoccinate sodium salt] and non-ionic [Tween80 0.1% -polyethylene glycol sorbitan monooleate]) and two egg detection methods (McMaster technique and FLOTAC). A modified concentration McMaster technique showed the highest egg recovery rate from bags. Two of the four diluted detergents (benzethonium chloride 0.1% and 7X 1%) also showed a higher egg recovery rate and were then compared with de-ionized water for recovery of helminth eggs from hands. The highest recovery rate (95.6%) was achieved with a hand rinse performed with 7X 1%. Washing hands with de-ionized water resulted in an egg recovery rate of 82.7%. This washing method performed with a low concentration of detergent offers potential for quantitative investigation of contamination of hands with Ascaris eggs and of their role in human infection. Follow-up studies are needed that validate the hand washing method under field conditions, e.g. including people of different age, lower levels of contamination and various levels of hand cleanliness.
Jeandron, A.; Ensink, J.H.J.; Thamsborg, S.M.; Dalsgaard, A.; Sengupta, M.E. A Quantitative Assessment Method for Ascaris Eggs on Hands. PLoS ONE (2014) 9 (5) e96731. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096731]