Performance of a Dot Blot Immunoassay for the Rapid Diagnosis of Scrub Typhus in a Longitudinal Case Series

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A rapid dipstick test for scrub typhus was prospectively evaluated in Chiangrai, northern Thailand. Sera from 162 patients with fever of unclear etiology were tested by a dot blot immunoassay using two different antigen concentrations. Dipsticks coated with lower concentration of antigen lacked sensitivity compared with the indirect immunoperoxidase test. Dipsticks with higher antigen concentration had increased sensitivity that was equivalent to that of the immunoperoxidase test. By increasing the antigen concentration on the dipstick, sensitivity increased from 67% to 100%, positive predictive value increased from 90% to 93%, and negative predictive value rose from 92% to 100%. The specificity of both antigen concentrations was 98%. This study establishes that scrub typhus can be confirmed serologically by use of a dipstick assay and that serodiagnosis can be effectively tailored to a target population.

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