Diagnostic evaluation of IgM ELISA and IgM Immunofluorescence assay for the diagnosis of Acute Scrub Typhus in central Nepal.BMC Infect Dis. 2020 Feb 13; 20(1):138.BI
Scrub typhus is an acute febrile illness caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Orientia tsutsugamushi. Immunochromatography (ICT) and IgM ELISA are two of the routinely employed antibody based assays for diagnosis of Scrub typhus fever in Nepal, although the recommended gold standard diagnostic test is IgM Immunofluorescence assay (IFA). This study evaluated InBios Scrub Typhus Detect™ Immunoglobulin M (IgM) ELISA and IgM Immunofluorescence assays in single serum sample at the time of admission.
Study participants (1585 suspected cases), were enrolled based on acute febrile illness with suspected scrub typhus cases in central Nepal. Blood sample was collected from the suspected patients of scrub typhus, presenting with acute febrile illness. IgM antibody to Orientia tsusugamushi was detected by using Scrub Typhus Detect™ Kit and an in-house IgM IFA. The IFA assay was performed with the Gilliam, Karp, Kato strains and O. chuto antigens following the ARRL protocol.
Statistical analysis of IgM ELISA results when compared to reference test, IgM IFA results demonstrated the following characteristics, sensitivity 84.0% (95%CI: 79.73-87.68%), specificity 94.82% (95% CI: 93.43-95.99%), positive likelihood ratio 16.21% (95% CI: 12.71-20.67%), negative likelihood ratio 0.17% (95% CI: 0.13-0.21%), disease prevalence 22.08% (95% CI: 20.06 -24.21%), positive predictive value 82.12% (95% CI: 78.28-85.42%) and negative predictive value 95.44% (95% CI: 94.27-96.38%) respectively.
Although IgM IFA is considered the gold standard test for the diagnosis of scrub typhus cases, it is relatively expensive, requires trained personal and a microscope with fluorescence filters. Scrub typhus IgM ELISA may be the best alternative test and possible viable option for resource limited endemic countries like Nepal.