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Free Content Detection of malaria sporozoites by standard ELISA and VecTestTM dipstick assay in field-collected anopheline mosquitoes from a malaria endemic site in Ghana

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We compared the VecTestTM dipstick assay for detection of Plasmodium sporozoites in Anopheles vectors of malaria with standard circumsporozoite (CS) microplate ELISA for detection of Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) in Anopheles mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were collected from a malaria endemic site (Kassena Nankana district) in northern Ghana. Of 2620 randomly sampled mosquitoes tested, the standard CS-ELISA gave a sporozoite rate of 10.8% compared with 11.2% by VecTestTM, which was not statistically different (P = 0.66). Visual reading of the CS-ELISA results gave a sporozoite rate of 13.4%, which was higher than the other tests (P > 0.05). To allow a more objective evaluation of the sensitivity of the dipstick, an additional 136 known CS-ELISA-positive specimens were analysed. The prevalence of the test (including the additional samples) was 14.6% and 14.7% for CS-ELISA and dipstick, respectively (P > 0.05). The estimated prevalence by visual assessment of the CS-ELISA results was 17.5%. The relative specificity and sensitivity of the VecTestTM dipstick and visually read ELISA were estimated based on the CS-ELISA as a gold standard. The specificities of the dipstick and visual ELISA were high, 98.0% and 96.6%, respectively. However, the sensitivities of the two assays were 88.8% for VecTest and 100% for visual ELISA (P < 0.01). Concordance between VecTest and CS-ELISA was good ( = 0.86). Similarly, there was a good concordance between the dipstick and the visually read ELISA ( =  0.88). Extrapolating from PfCSP controls (titrated quantities of P. falciparum sporozoites), mean sporozoite loads of CS-ELISA-positive An. gambiae (286 ± 28.05) and An. funestus (236 ± 19.32) were determined (P = 0.146). The visual dipstick grades showed high correlation with sporozoite load. The more intense the dipstick colour, the higher the mean sporozoite load (+ = 108, ++  = 207, +++ = 290, r = 0.99, r2 = 1). The VecTest dipstick offers practical advantages for field workers needing rapid and accurate means of detection of sporozoites in mosquitoes.
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Keywords: Anopheles; Plasmodium falciparum; circumsporozoite protein; dipstick assay; malaria vectors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana 2: United States Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Cairo, Egypt 3: Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, MD, USA

Publication date: 2003-11-01

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