DEVELOPMENT OF A VIRTUAL LIBRARY OF CLINICAL SAMPLES FOR MEDICAL PARASITOLOGY DIAGNOSIS
1 De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Universidad San Pablo CEU, Facultad de Farmacia (SPAIN)
3 University Hospitals of Leicester, Department of Clinical Microbiology (UNITED KINGDOM)
4 Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (SPAIN)
5 De Montfort University, Postgraduate and CPD Office, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:An innovative teaching group from different EU Universities (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK; University of San Pablo CEU and University Miguel Hernández, Spain), in conjunction with practicing biomedical scientists (University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK) are developing a complete e-learning package for teaching and learning medical parasitology for undergraduate and postgraduate health science students. This package, named DMU e-Parasitology, will be publicly accessible through the internet by the end of 2018 (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/index.htm) and will present different innovative and on-line teaching and learning resources, including a virtual library with a complete collection of slides showing different parasites and their infective forms (e.g. eggs, cysts, spores, trophozoites) in different clinical and/or environmental samples as well as parasite cultures. The virtual slide collection is being built within the virtual microscope module (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/learn/microscope.htm) and contains a section for the three major groups of human-pathogenic parasites:
a) protozoa, including slides from free-living amoebae, Dientamoeba fragilis, Giardia, Cryptosporidia spp., etc.;
b) helminths, which covers the three major groups, i.e. trematodes or flukes (e.g. Schistosoma spp. eggs), cestodes or tapeworms (e.g. Taenia sp. eggs) and nematodes or roundworms (e.g. Ascaris lumbricoides eggs and Strongyloides stercoralis worm); and
c) arthropods, currently in development.
In addition, the virtual microscope section presents a section of slides for fungi (microsporidia species spores) and photographs from macroscopic parasites structures such as Taenia sp. segments.
The novel gadget Zoomofy is being used to mirror the applicability of a light microscope, so the user is able to zoom in and out of the virtual slide and move around the sample to identify and learn different characteristics that are critical for identification of human eukaryotic parasites. In conjunction with the virtual microscope with the real slide collection, a series of videos and units are being built to provide a complete understanding of how to work in a real medical parasitology laboratory to the user of the DMU e-Parasitology. Thus, some units explain how to perform cell and parasite culture, or staining and molecular techniques for detection and diagnosis of these parasites in human and environmental samples. Moreover, these resources show the user how to use the specific laboratory equipment involved with the above techniques such as a light microscope or a biological safety cabinet.
Recent global events such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, an area endemic for different parasitic diseases such as malaria or Schistosoma, has shown that the creation of different virtual resources, including a virtual library of slides, may impact in the quality control of diagnosis of parasitic diseases due to the limited resources in these countries. We consider that the publicly available virtual slide library that is being created may serve as a high quality and reliable global image bank of parasites useful for example to technicians in health centres in tropical areas where parasite infection is endemic. This communication will explore the initial design of these teaching and learning tools.
Keywords: DMU eParasitology, medical parasitology training, virtual microscope, virtual slides.