Diagnosis in Humans and Animals

In meat animals, the clinical signs of acute sarcocystosis provide a presumptive diagnosis. Animals may show excessive salivation or runny nose, loss of body hair, abortion, reduced milk production, or death. For a short time during peak acute illness the serum enzymes may be elevated. Serologic tests may be helpful in confirming the diagnosis; the indirect hemagglutination test and ELISA have been used in the laboratory but are not yet available commercially. Definitive diagnosis depends on finding parasites and lesions in sick animals. Hemorrhage and nonsuppurative inflammation are often found in tissues from accutely infected animals. The finding of large numbers of immature cysts in muscle biopsies or after death is indicative of a recent clinical infection.

Diagnosis of sarcocystosis in humans or other carnivores is based on finding sporocysts in the feces. This is best accomplished by standard laboratory fecal flotation procedures using saturated sugar solution or zinc sulfate followed by examination with bright-field microscopy.

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