What is Egg Counting?
We count the ova (parasite eggs) in our faeces in an attempt to monitor the health of the hookworm population we are carrying. By taking regular ova counts, we can compare counts and gauge the health of the worm population. EG. A large drop in ova count will prompt the question, what could have caused the drop?
Known products that suppress the worms include Manuka Honey (a natural Antibiotic), Novocaine (dentist) and Olive Leaf Extract (concentrated antiseptic). Taking these products regularly can eventually kill the worm population off.
Using these substances for a short time seems to only stun the worms (drop in egg count is observed). Once you discontinue, you will often observe a large spike in egg count, as if once the worms recover they push out a backlog of ova. So it's important to question not only large drops but also large peaks.
A New Counting Method
In the past we have counted to detect large hookworm infections that can cause health problems. In worm therapy our objective is different. We actually want to preserve our light infection, not kill them.
Traditional counting methods such as the McMasters method do not have the sensitivity we need. The very low infections used in worm therapy often result in a count of only a few ova being observed on a McMasters slide. Add to that some error (due to change in eating/drinking/medication intake etc) and it's easy to find no ova, even though you may have a healthy 10-40 worm infection. Local pathology labs often cannot find ova in worm therapy patients, yet those experienced in worm therapy can find ova in the same faecal sample.
Our group have decided to standardize on our own counting method as follows: Add 1 gram of poo to a fecalyzer, fill with float solution (see instructions), drop on a 22x22 mm slide cover slip and let it stand for 20 mins. Then drop the slip onto a slide and count all ova found under the 22x22 mm cover slip. This method has good sensitivity (always a good count. Typically 20-100) and is simple and relatively clean to perform.
Currently a number of us are trailing the new method and will publish the data on this site from time to time.
Read details on the new counting method