The Popularity of the FLOTAC Method

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The current issue of The Journal of Parasitology features two studies that test the efficacy of the FLOTAC method, which uses a dual-chamber centrifugation system that detects parasitic eggs and cysts in the fecal matter of humans and animals. Both articles concluded that while the FLOTAC method is effective, it is not a "gold standard".

The Journal of Parasitology Volume 100 Issue 5

Identifying what ails us is always a daunting task, and we entrust our healthcare professionals with the job of diagnosing our illnesses and curing them. But how do healthcare professionals keep up with new diseases, virus strains, and parasites? Behind the scenes, researchers are hard at work developing faster and more accurate methods of detection to identify the “bugs” that may be the root of our illnesses.

A new method for identifying common parasitic eggs has recently surfaced. The FLOTAC technique uses a dual-chamber centrifugation system that detects parasitic eggs and cysts in the fecal matter of humans and animals. If medication is prescribed as a treatment, FLOTAC is also able to measure the effectiveness of the drug on the parasite.

Recently, two studies were published testing the efficacy of the FLOTAC method in The Journal of Parasitology. In the article “Experimental Estimation of the Efficacy of the FLOTAC Basic Technique,” the authors set out to test the FLOTAC technique and theory on it’s accuracy, precision, recovery, sensitivity, and limits of detection and quantification. Using naturally occurring parasites in dogs and pigs, the authors found many discrepancies with the original theory behind FLOTAC in terms of projected percentages. Still, the use of the dual-chamber method led the authors to conclude that FLOTAC was the most effective quantitative method for the eggs of parasitic worms.

While in agreement with this finding, the second study, “Validation of FLOTAC for the Detection and Quantification of Troglodytella Abrassarti and Neobalantidium Coli in Chimpanzees and Pigs,” examined a wider array of parasites. They reported that the FLOTAC method was not optimal in detecting the cysts of protozoan parasites which normally inhabit the large intestine. The authors found that another method, merthiolate-iodine-formaldehyde sedimentation (a semi-quantitative scoring of the intensity of the infection), was a more effective method of detection. These authors concluded that although FLOTAC is not the “gold standard” method, it is nonetheless effective.

Overall, the FLOTAC method is gaining popularity due to its ease of use in detecting selected parasites. However, as these two articles point out, the particular parasites being looked for will determine what method is applied.

Full text of the articles, “Experimental Estimation of the Efficacy of the FLOTAC Basic Technique,” and “Validation of FLOTAC for the Detection and Quantification of Troglodytella Abrassarti and Neobalantidium Coli in Chimpanzees and Pigs,” Journal of Parasitology, Vol. 100, No. 5, 2014, is now available.

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About The Journal of Parasitology
The Journal of Parasitology is the official journal of the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP). It is a medium for the publication of new original research, primarily on parasitic animals, and official business of the ASP. The journal is intended for all with interests in basic or applied aspects of parasitology as well as in systematics, medicine, molecular biology, immunology, physiology, ecology, biochemistry, and behavior. For more information, visit http://www.journalofparasitology.org.

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Taylor Fulton
Allen Press
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