Performance of Widal test and stool culture in the diagnosis of typhoid fever among suspected patients in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Akili Mawazo, George M. Bwire, and Mecky I. N. Matee


We set an experiment to determine the diagnostic performance of the Widal test and stool culture in typhoid-suspected cases attending tertiary hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania using blood culture as a golden standard. We also evaluated the agreement between Widal, stool and blood culture. This was a cross-sectional study conducted between June and September 2018, in three Regional Referral Hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A total of 158 typhoid-suspected cases were enrolled, after obtaining an informed consent. Of the 158 patients participated in the study, 128 (81%) tested positive for the Widal test and 17 (11%) patients were stool culture positive. Widal test recorded 81.5% sensitivity, 18.3% specificity, 10.1% positive predictive value and 89.7% negative predictive value. Stool culture showed 31.3% sensitivity, 91.5% specificity, 29% positive predictive value and 91.5% negative predictive value. In conclusion, Widal test is not reliable for diagnosis of typhoid fever since false positive and negative results are common. In addition, Widal test recorded poor agreement with the blood culture (kappa = 0.014, p < 0.05) while stool culture had strong agreement with the blood culture (kappa = 0.22, p < 0.05).

Click here to read the article, published in BMC Research Notes.