Field evaluation of an immunochromatographic test for diagnosis of cystic and alveolar echinococcosis

Chun-hua Gao, Jun-yun Wang, Feng Shi, Dietmar Steverding, Xia Wang-Steverding, Yue-tao Yang, Xiao-nong Zhou

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Background: The larval stages of the tapeworms Echinocoocus granulosus and Echinococcus multilocularis are the causative agents of human cystic echinococcosis (CE) and human alveolar echinococcosis (AE), respectively. Both CE and AE are chronic diseases characterised by long asymptomatic periods of many years. However, early diagnosis of the disease is important if treatment and management of echinococcosis patients are to be successful.

Methods: A previously developed rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for the differential detection of CE and AE was evaluated under field conditions with finger prick blood samples taken from 1502 people living in the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China, a region with a high prevalence for both forms of human echinococcosis. The results were compared with simultaneously obtained abdominal ultrasonographic scans of the individuals.

Results: Using the ultrasonography as the gold standard, sensitivity and specificity, and the diagnostic accuracy of the RDT were determined to be greater than 94% for both CE and AE. For CE cases, high detection rates (95.6–98.8%) were found with patients having active cysts while lower detection rates (40.0–68.8%) were obtained with patients having transient or inactive cysts. In contrast, detection rates in AE patients were independent of the lesion type. The positive likelihood ratio of the RDT for CE and AE was greater than 20 and thus fairly high, indicating that a patient with a positive test result has a high probability of having echinococcosis.

Conclusions: The results suggest that our previously developed RDT is suitable as a screening tool for the early detection of human echinococcosis in endemic areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number311
Number of pages6
JournalParasites & Vectors
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


  • Cystic echinococcosis
  • Alveolar echinococcosis
  • Echinococcus granulosus
  • Echinococcus multilocularis
  • Abdominal ultrasound image examination
  • Rapid diagnostic test

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