Inaugural Lecture in Parasitology: “Unique Cases in Parasitic Diseases and Controversies of Immunological Diagnostic in Clinical Studies”

Parasitic diseases are still a challenge for the medical world, especially in tropical countries, including Indonesia. According to the Directorate General of Public Health, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, almost half (42.8%) of the causes of death in the toddler group (12–59 months) in 2020 are caused by parasitic infections. Parasitic diseases found in Indonesia consist of helminthiasis (roundworms, hookworms, pinworms, filaria, and several types of tapeworms) and protozoa infections (malaria, toxoplasma, and intestinal protozoa). Although the symptoms of some infections are less severe and less specific, chronic infections can cause developmental delays, anemia, and decreased productivity. On the other hand, some parasitic infections, such as malaria, can cause severe symptoms that can lead to death.

Although some parasitic infections are quite common, certain cases of parasites are “unique” and rarely found. Unfamiliarity with these cases has the potential to cause misdiagnosis which results in less effective treatment. In addition, the diagnosis using several immunological methods has also been controversial in clinical cases.

This is the basis for organizing activities of INAUGURAL LECTURE IN PARASITOLOGY with the theme “UNIQUE CASES IN PARASITIC DISEASES AND CONTROVERSIES OF IMMUNOLOGICAL DIAGNOSTIC IN CLINICAL STUDIES” on Monday, 30 January 2023 by The Department of Clinical Parasitology and the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Brawijaya in collaboration with the Association of Indonesian Clinical Parasitology Specialists (PDS PARKI) and the Association for the Eradication of Parasitic Diseases of Indonesia (P4I).

The chief executive who is also the head of the Department of Clinical Parasitology FMUB, dr. Agustin Iskandar, Sp.PK(k), said that currently there is a decrease in cases and a positive elimination trend for malaria and filariasis infections in Indonesia. This is supported by flow and modality improvements that can provide more valid data to confirm cases of parasitic infection. However, apart from cases of malaria and filariasis, many cases of other parasitic infections have not been fully reported by the Ministry of Health, including cases of taeniasis ascariasis, and other several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Dr. Agustin added that knowledge about clinical cases related to parasitic infections is needed to support prompt and appropriate diagnosis and treatment. One component that can support this is an accurate diagnostic method. Therefore, it is necessary to develop advanced diagnostic tests that aim to change or support conventional examination methods, so as to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the detection of parasitic diseases.

The accuracy of the diagnosis of parasitic diseases immunologically depends on the method used to detect parasites in the host and the timeliness of detection, because parasitic infections are often difficult to distinguish clinically from other (non-specific) infectious diseases. Sensitivity and specificity are two important criteria for determining the validity of a diagnostic test. In line with the development of science and technology, molecular biology and immunological approaches (immunodiagnosis) is a widely used methods for the diagnosis of parasitic diseases. This method is known to have a high level of sensitivity and specificity for detecting parasitic infections. However, the interpretation of the results of this diagnostic method is often confusing, especially in clinical cases.

Based on the above background, efforts are needed to increase knowledge regarding unique cases in the field of parasitology and the controversy over the results of immunological diagnoses in clinical studies, especially for students, both at the preclinical, professional, specialist education, and postgraduate stages, as well as lecturers, analysts, and the academic community in FMUB.

In the inaugural lecture, we invited two experts in the field of Clinical Parasitology as speakers, namely, Prof. Dr. dr. Teguh Wahju Sardjono, DTM&H, MSc., Sp.ParK and Dr. dr. Sri Poeranto, M.Kes., Sp.ParK, who has experience for more than 30 years in this field. This activity is expected to increase knowledge in the field of tropical medicine, especially because the material in this public lecture is an enrichment of the Parasitology topic given in the curriculum of medical educators. Besides that, it also aims as a form of appreciation and release for retired Parasitology Lecturer staff. The expected outcome of this event is the preparation and publication of a book on unique case collections and controversies of immunological diagnosis in the field of parasitiology. (An4nk – Public Relations of FMUB)