Field evaluation of a locally produced rapid diagnostic test for early detection of cholera in Bangladesh

by Md. Taufiqul Islam, Ashraful Islam Khan, Md. Abu Sayeed, Jakia Amin, Kamrul Islam, Nur Alam, Nishat Sultana, Noor Jahan, Md. Mahbubur Rashid, Zahid Hasan Khan, Mazharul Islam Zion, Mokibul Hassan Afrad, Shah Alam Siddique, Farhana Khanam, Yasmin Ara Begum, Muhammad Shariful Islam, Firdausi Qadri

Background

Cholera remains a substantial health burden in Asia and Africa particularly in resource poor settings. The standard procedures to identify the etiological organism V. cholerae are isolation from microbiological culture from stool as well as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Both the processes are highly lab oriented, labor extensive, time consuming, and expensive. In an effort to control for outbreaks and epidemics; an effective, convenient, quick and relatively less expensive detection method is imperative, without compromising the sensitivity and specificity that exists at present. The objective of this component of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a locally produced rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for cholera diagnosis.

Methods

In Bangladesh, nationwide cholera surveillance is ongoing in 22 hospitals covering all 8 divisions of the country since June, 2016. In the surveillance, stool samples have been collected from patients presenting to hospitals with acute watery diarrhea. Crystal VCTM (Span diagnostics, India) and Cholkit (locally produced RDT) have been used to detect V. cholerae from stool samples. Samples have also been sent to the main laboratory at icddr,b where the culture based isolation is routinely performed. All the tests were carried out for both direct and enriched stool samples. RDT sensitivity and specificity were calculated using stool culture as the gold standard.

Results

A total of 7720 samples were tested. Among these, 5865 samples were solely tested with Crystal VC and 1355 samples with Cholkit whereas 381 samples were tested with both the RDTs. In comparison with culture, direct testing with Crystal VC showed a sensitivity of 72% (95% CI: 50.6% to 87.9%) and specificity of 86.8% (95% CI: 82.8% to 90.1%). After enrichment the sensitivity and specificity was 68% (95% CI: 46.5% to 85.1%) and 97.5% (95% CI: 95.3% to 98.8%) respectively. The direct Cholkit test showed sensitivity of 76% (95% CI: 54.9% to 90.6%) and specificity of 90.2% (95% CI: 86.6% to 93.1%).

Conclusion

This evaluation has demonstrated that the sensitivity and specificity of Cholkit is similar to the commercially available test, Crystal VC when used in field settings for detecting V. cholerae from stool specimens. The findings from this study suggest that the Cholkit could be a possible alternative for cholera endemic regions where V. cholerae O1 is the major causative organism causing cholera.

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