A longitudinal study of trachoma in 100 members of nine Tanzanian families was conducted to assess the sources of variation in the laboratory identification of trachoma and the changes that might occur over time. Multiple conjunctival swabs were collected every 3 months for 1 year and examined by direct fluorescent-antibody cytology (DFA), enzyme immunoassay, or microimmunofluorescence serology for tear antichlamydial antibodies. DFA specimens collected 5 min apart had a discordance rate of 10%, and this is attributable to sampling variation. DFA specimens collected 2 days or more apart show a 25% discordance rate. This suggests a biologic variation in shedding in addition to sampling variation. Good correlation existed between the DFA and the enzyme immunoassay. Tear serology was quite specific in predicting the presence of clinical disease and correlated with the other two antigen detection tests, although it does not seem to offer any practical advantages. These studies indicate that there is considerable variation in the shedding of chlamydia by people living in trachoma-endemic areas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)