Early diagnosis of scrub typhus with a rapid flow assay using recombinant major outer membrane protein antigen (r56) of Orientia tsutsugamushi

W. M. Ching, D. Rowland, Z. Zhang, A. L. Bourgeois, D. Kelly, G. A. Dasch, P. L. Devine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The variable 56-kDa major outer membrane protein of Orientia tsutsugamushi is the immunodominant antigen in human scrub typhus infections. We developed a rapid immunochromatographic flow assay (RFA) for the detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgC antibodies to O. tsutsugamushi. The RFA employs a truncated recombinant 56-kDa protein from the Karp strain as the antigen. The performance of the RFA was evaluated with a panel of 321 sera (serial bleedings of 85 individuals suspected of scrub typhus) which were collected in the Pescadore Islands, Taiwan, from 1976 to 1977. Among these 85 individuals, IgM tests were negative for 7 cases by both RFA and indirect fluorescence assay (IFA) using Karp whole-cell antigen. In 29 cases specific responses were detected by the RFA earlier than by IFA, 44 cases had the same detection time, and 5 cases were detected earlier by IFA than by RFA. For IgG responses, 4 individuals were negative with both methods, 37 cases exhibited earlier detection by RFA than IFA, 42 cases were detected at the same time, and 2 cases were detected earlier by IFA than by RFA. The sensitivities of RFA detection of antibody in sera from confirmed cases were 74 and 86% for IgM and IgG, respectively. When IgM and IgG results were combined, the sensitivity was 89%. A panel of 78 individual sera collected from patients with no evidence of scrub typhus was used to evaluate the specificity of the RFA. The specificities of the RFA were 99% for IgM and 97% for IgG. The sensitivities of IFA were 53 and 73% for IgM and IgG, respectively, and were 78% when the results of IgM and IgG were combined. The RFA test was significantly better than the IFA test for the early detection of antibody to scrub typhus in primary infections, while both tests were equally sensitive with reinfected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)

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