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Diagnosis of visceral Leishmaniasis in an elimination setting: a validation study of the diagnostic algorithm in India

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Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is on the verge of elimination on the Indian subcontinent. Nonetheless, the currently low VL-incidence setting brings along new challenges, one of which is the validity of the diagnostic algorithm, based on a combination of suggestive clinical symptoms in combination with a positive rK39 Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT). With this study, we aimed to assess the positive predictive value of the diagnostic algorithm in the current low-endemic setting in India by re-assessing newly diagnosed VL patients with a qPCR analysis on venous blood as the reference test. In addition, we evaluated the specificity of the rK39 RDT by testing non-VL cases with the rK39 RDT. Participants were recruited in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India. VL patients diagnosed based on the diagnostic algorithm were recruited through six primary health care centers (PHCs); non-VL cases were identified through a door-to-door survey in currently endemic, previously endemic, and non-endemic clusters, and tested with rK39 RDT, as well as—if positive—with qPCR on peripheral blood. We found that 95% (70/74; 95% CI 87–99%) of incident VL cases diagnosed at the PHC level using the current diagnostic algorithm were confirmed by qPCR. Among 15,422 non-VL cases, 39 were rK39 RDT positive, reflecting a specificity of the test of 99.7% (95% CI 99.7–99.8%). The current diagnostic algorithm combining suggestive clinical features with a positive rK39 RDT still seems valid in the current low-endemic setting in India.
Tijdschrift: Diagnostics (Basel)
ISSN: 2075-4418
Issue: 3
Volume: 12
Jaar van publicatie:2022
Trefwoorden:Diagnostic algorithm, Elimination, Kala-azar, Low incidence setting, RK39 RDT, Visceral leishmaniasis
Toegankelijkheid:Open