I know that stool tests can diagnose tapeworms/pinworms/other worms. Are there other methods?
Yes, there are other methods, but they are dependant on the type of helminth. Common tests for helminths are the following:
- serological tests
- molecular tests
- microscopic tests
To have the most significant diagnostic impact, new techniques and assays should be simple and yield rapid results. Such characteristics could be achieved by reducing the number of steps to be performed in a procedure and making result interpretation obvious enough to avoid significant operator-dependent biases. An optimal diagnosis method would possess these favorable features while still maintaining a high level of sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, many of the tests that are used today cannot differentiate between current and past infections. Assays that are capable of making this distinction are necessary to properly determine disease prevalence, choose the appropriate treatment, and assess the effect of treatment. Currently, diagnostic and reference laboratories use several techniques, including microscopy, molecular assays, and serological assays. Each method has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Furthermore, many research laboratories are focusing on the development of new diagnostic methods as well as the improvement of old ones. There has especially been a focus on the development of molecular diagnostic techniques. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedures for the detection of various parasites are continuously being optimized. Recently, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) has attracted much attention and seems to be the molecular tool of the future.
These tests are recommended by the CDC per type of helminth:
Ndao, Momar: Diagnosis of Parasitic Diseases: Old and New Approaches, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases Volume 2009, Article ID 278246, 15 pages
An outline of each test can be found in the same study.