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Int J Med Microbiol. 2000 Jul;290(3):279-83.

Early diagnosis of bubonic plague using F1 antigen capture ELISA assay and rapid immunogold dipstick.

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Institut Pasteur, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Plague, Antananarivo, Madagascar.


Plague is still prevalent in more than 20 countries. Two F1 antigen diagnostic assays (an immunocapture ELISA and an immunogold chromatography dipstick) were evaluated using bubo aspirates, serum and urine specimens from patients suspected with plague. The specificity of the two F1 assays was found 100%. Using bacteriology as a gold reference diagnostic assay, 52 patients were Yersinia pestis culture positive and 141 negative. The sensitivity of the F1 ELISA test was 100% in bubo, 52% in serum and 58% in urine specimens. In culture negative patients, the F1 antigen could be found in 10% bubo aspirates, 5% serum and 7% urine specimens of culture negative patients for whom a seroconversion for anti-F1 antibodies was also observed. The sensitivity of the dipstick assay was 98% on bubo aspirates specimens. Compared to the ELISA test, the agreement rate was 97.5% and the correlation coefficient tau = 0.90 (p < 10(-3)). In conclusion, the diagnosis of bubonic plague has to be performed on bubo fluid rather than on serum or urine specimens. Both the F1 ELISA and the dipstick assays are valuable tools for an early diagnosis and for the surveillance of plague.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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