Mochammad Hatta, Marga G A Goris, Evy Heerkens, Jairo Gooskens and Henk L Smits
Application of a dipstick assay for the detection of Salmonella typhi-specific IgM antibodies on samples collected from S. typhi or S. paratyphi culture-positive patients at the day of admission to the hospital revealed the presence of specific IgM antibodies in 43.5%, 92.9%, and 100% for samples collected 4-6 days, 6-9 days, and > 9 days after the onset of fever, respectively. The mean sensitivity for samples collected an average of 6.6 days after the onset of fever was 65.3%. Culture was positive in 65.9% of the cases with a final clinical diagnosis of typhoid fever. Testing of paired serum samples from culture negative patients with a final clinical diagnosis of typhoid fever resulted in staining of the dipstick in 4.3% of the samples collected at the day of admission to the hospital and in 76.6% of the samples collected one week later, thereby provided strong supporting evidence of typhoid fever by demonstrating seroconversion in a large proportion of the patients. The dipstick assay may thus also be useful for the serodiagnosis of culture-negative patients with clinical signs and symptoms consistent with typhoid fever. The advantages of the dipstick assay are that the result can be obtained on the same day allowing a prompt treatment, that only a small volume of serum is needed, and that no special laboratory equipment is needed to perform the assay. The stability of the reagents of the dipstick and the simplicity of the assay allows its use in places that lack laboratory facilities.
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