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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Aug;83(2):374-9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0735.

Diagnostic accuracy and feasibility of serological tests on filter paper samples for outbreak detection of T.b. gambiense human African trypanosomiasis.

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  • 1Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, Belgium.


Control of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is based on mass population screening by mobile teams; a costly and labor-intensive approach. We hypothesized that blood samples collected on filter paper by village health workers and processed in a central laboratory might be a cost-effective alternative. We estimated sensitivity and specificity of micro-card agglutination test for trypanosomiasis (micro-CATT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)/T.b. gambiense on filter paper samples compared with parasitology-based case classification and used the results in a Monte Carlo simulation of a lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) approach. Micro-CATT and ELISA/T.b. gambiense showed acceptable sensitivity (92.7% [95% CI 87.4-98.0%] and 82.2% [95% CI 75.3-90.4%]) and very high specificity (99.4% [95% CI 99.0-99.9%] and 99.8% [95% CI 99.5-100%]), respectively. Conditional on high sample size per lot (> or = 60%), both tests could reliably distinguish a 2% from a zero prevalence at village level. Alternatively, these tests could be used to identify individual HAT suspects for subsequent confirmation.

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