Due to the efforts to control schistosomiasis transmission in tropical countries, a large proportion of individuals from endemic areas present low parasite loads, which hinders diagnosis of intestinal schistosomiasis by the Kato-Katz (KK) method. Therefore, the development of more sensitive diagnostic methods is essential for efficient control measures. The aim was to evaluate the accuracy of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect Schistosoma mansoni DNA in fecal samples of individuals with low parasite loads. A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted in a rural community (n = 257) in Brazil. POC-CCA® was performed in urine and feces were used for RT-PCR. In addition, fecal exams were completed by 18 KK slides, saline gradient and Helmintex techniques. The combined results of the three parasitological tests detected schistosome eggs in 118 participants (45.9%) and composed the consolidated reference standard (CRS). By RT-PCR, 117 out of 215 tested samples were positive, showing 91.4% sensitivity, 80.2% specificity and good concordance with the CRS (kappa = 0.71). RT-PCR identified 86.9% of the individuals eliminating less than 12 eggs/g of feces, demonstrating much better performance than POC-CCA® (50.8%). Our results showed that RT-PCR is a valuable alternative for the diagnosis of intestinal schistosomiasis in individuals with very low parasite loads.