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In MethodsX

Conventional analytical techniques for evaluating Helminth eggs are based on different steps to concentrate them in a pellet for direct observation and quantification under a light microscope, which can generate under-counts or over-counts and be time consuming. To enhance this process, a new approach via automatic identification was implemented in which various image processing detectors were developed and incorporated into a Helminth Egg Automatic Detector (HEAD) system. This allowed the identification and quantification of pathogenic eggs of global medical importance. More than 2.6 billion people are currently affected and infected, and this results in approximately 80,000 child deaths each year. As a result, since 1980 the World Health Organization (WHO) has implemented guidelines, regulations and criteria for the control of the health risk. After the initial release of the analytical technique, two improvements were developed in the detector: first, a texture verification process that reduced the number of false positive results; and second, the establishment of the optimal thresholds for each species. In addition, the software was made available on a free platform. After performing an internal statistical verification of the system, testing with internationally recognized parasitology laboratories was carried out, Subsequently, the HEAD System is capable of identifying and quantifying different species of Helminth eggs in different environmental samples: wastewater, sludge, biosolids, excreta and soil, with in-service sensitivity and specificity values for the open library for machine learning TensorFlow (TF) model of 96.82% and 97.96% respectively. The current iteration uses AutoML Vision (a computer platform for the automatization of machine learning models, making it easier to train, optimize and export results to cloud applications or devices). It represents a useful and cheap tool that could be utilized by environmental monitoring facilities and laboratories around the world.•The HEAD Software will significantly reduce the costs associated with the detection and quantification of helminth eggs to a high level of accuracy.•It represents a tool, not only for microbiologists and researchers, but also for various agencies involved in sanitation, such as environmental regulation agencies, which currently require highly trained technicians.•The simplicity of the device contributes to the control the contamination of water, soil, and crops, even in poor and isolated communities.

Jiménez Blanca, Maya Catalina, Velásquez Gustavo, Barrios José Antonio, Pérez Mónica, Román Angélica

2020

AutoML vision, Automatic identification, Environmental samples, Helminth eggs, Object characterization, Sensitivity, Specificity, TensorFlow