Comparison of flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy for the detection of Giardia duodenalis in bovine fecal samples

Fabienne D Uehlinger, Herman W Barkema, Ryan M O'Handley, Monique Parenteau, Lorna J Parrington, John A Vanleeuwen, Brent R Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of flow cytometry (FC) was compared with immunofluorescence microscopy (IM) for detection of Giardia duodenalis in bovine feces. Samples from 36 adult dairy cows and 208 dairy calves were collected. Flow cytometry test characteristics were calculated using continuous, ordinal, and dichotomized results. Spearman correlation coefficients comparing the results of the 2 tests were 0.47 and 0.68 for cows and calves, respectively. Using IM as indicative of presence or absence of G. duodenalis cysts in each sample, likelihood ratios of FC results with 0, 1, and > or = 2 gated events indicated that samples with 1 gated event were likely to be positive in the cows but not in the calves. Immunofluorescence microscopy detected G. duodenalis in 69.7% and 48.1% of cows and calves, respectively. When dichotomizing the FC results at a cut-off point of 1 or 2 gated events, 46.3% and 19.9% of the cow and 51.9% and 35.1% of the calf samples, respectively, were classified as G. duodenalis-positive. Relative to IM, the sensitivity in the cows was 0.59 and 0.28, respectively, and 0.76 and 0.64, respectively, in the calves. At a cut-off point of 1, 65.7% and 73.1% of the cow and calf samples, respectively, were correctly classified in FC, and at a cut-off point of 2, 49.3% and 78.4% were correctly classified in the cows and calves, respectively. Flow cytometry was less sensitive than IM. Possible reasons and research needed to improve FC for G. duodenalis detection are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-85
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Cattle Diseases
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Giardia lamblia
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Giardiasis
  • Feces
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Female


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