Development and evaluation of an antigen detection dipstick assay for the diagnosis of human onchocerciasis
To improve on the diagnosis of onchocerciasis, especially light infections, we developed and evaluated an oncho-dipstick test based on the detection of Onchocerca volvulus specific antigens in urine and tears. The test was able to detect as little as 25 ng/ml of parasite specific antigens in samples and took as little as 3 h. Evaluation of the assay on 456 residents of an onchocerciasis hyperendermic area in Cameroon resulted in 408 (89.5%) positives in urine and 374 (82%) positives in tears. The prevalence of onchocerciasis in the study area, as determined by Rapid Epidemiological Mapping of Onchocerciasis (REMO) and skin snip methods, was 52 and 36.8%, respectively. The sensitivity of the oncho-dipstick assay was 100% in urine and 92% in tears; its specificity was 100% in both. Concordance between urine and tear test results from the same individuals was 87%. The test strips were sufficiently reactive when left at room temperature for up to 8 months. The test would be useful for laboratory diagnosis of onchocerciasis in low transmission zones and to ascertain successful treatment of patients in experimental drug studies.