Evaluation of Kato-Katz and multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction performance for clinical helminth infections in Thailand using a latent class analysis.
Rotejanaprasert C., Chuaicharoen P., Prada JM., Thantithaveewat T., Adisakwattana P., Pan-Ngum W.
Using an appropriate diagnostic tool is essential to soil-transmitted helminth control and elimination efforts. Kato-Katz (KK) is the most commonly used diagnostic, but recently other tools, such as real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (multiplex qPCR), are starting to be employed more. Here, we evaluated the performance of these two diagnostic tools for five helminth species in Thailand. In the absence of a gold standard, diagnostic performance can be evaluated using latent class analysis. Our results suggest that in moderate to high prevalence settings above 2% multiplex qPCR could be more sensitive than KK, this was particularly apparent for Opisthorchis viverrini in the northeastern provinces. However, for low prevalence, both diagnostics suffered from low sensitivity. Specificity of both diagnostics was estimated to be high (above 70%) across all settings. For some specific helminth infection such as O. viverrini, multiplex qPCR is still a preferable choice of diagnostic test. KK performed equally well in detecting Ascaris lumbricoides and Taenia solium when the prevalence is moderate to high (above 2%). Neither test performed well when the prevalence of infection is low (below 2%), and certainly in the case for hookworm and Trichuris trichiura. Combination of two or more diagnostic tests can improve the performance although the cost would be high. Development of new methods for helminth surveillance at the pre-elimination phase is therefore very important. This article is part of the theme issue 'Challenges and opportunities in the fight against neglected tropical diseases: a decade from the London Declaration on NTDs'.