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Leptospirosis is a globally important cause of acute febrile illness, and a common cause of non-malarial fever in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Simple rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are needed to enable health-care workers, particularly in low resource settings, to diagnose leptospirosis early and give timely targeted treatment. This study compared four commercially available RDTs to detect human IgM against Leptospira spp. in a head-to-head prospective evaluation in Mahosot Hospital, Lao PDR. Patients with an acute febrile illness consistent with leptospirosis (N = 695) were included in the study during the 2014 rainy season. Samples were tested with four RDTs: ("Test-it" [Life Assay, Cape Town, South Africa; N = 418]; "Leptorapide" [Linnodee, Ballyclare, Northern Ireland; N = 492]; "Dual Path Platform" [DPP] [Chembio, Medford, NY; N = 530]; and "SD-IgM" [Standard Diagnostics, Yongin, South Korea; N = 481]). Diagnostic performance characteristics were calculated and compared with a composite reference standard combining polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (rrs), microscopic agglutination tests (MATs), and culture. Of all patients investigated, 39/695 (5.6%) were positive by culture, PCR, or MAT. The sensitivity and specificity of the RDTs ranged greatly from 17.9% to 63.6% and 62.1% to 96.8%, respectively. None of the investigated RDTs reached a sensitivity or specificity of > 90% for detecting Leptospira infections on admission. In conclusion, our investigation highlights the challenges associated with Leptospira diagnostics, particularly in populations with multiple exposures. These findings emphasize the need for extensive prospective evaluations in multiple endemic settings to establish the value of rapid tools for diagnosing fevers to allow targeting of antibiotics.

Original publication

DOI

10.4269/ajtmh.17-0702

Type

Journal article

Journal

The american journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Publication Date

04/2018

Volume

98

Pages

1056 - 1060

Addresses

Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.