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A diagnostic accuracy study to evaluate standard rapid diagnostic test (RDT) alone to safely rule out imported malaria in children presenting to UK emergency departments

Bird, Chris; Hayward, Gail N; Turner, Philip J.; Merrick, Vanessa; Lyttle, Mark D; Mullen, Niall; Fanshawe, Thomas R

A diagnostic accuracy study to evaluate standard rapid diagnostic test (RDT) alone to safely rule out imported malaria in children presenting to UK emergency departments Thumbnail


Authors

Chris Bird

Gail N Hayward

Philip J. Turner

Vanessa Merrick

Niall Mullen

Thomas R Fanshawe



Abstract

BACKGROUND: Microscopy is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis but is dependent on trained personnel. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) form the mainstay of diagnosis in endemic areas without access to high-quality microscopy. We aimed to evaluate whether RDT alone could rule out imported malaria in children presenting to UK emergency departments (EDs). METHODS: UK-based, multi-center, retrospective, diagnostic accuracy study. Included: any child <16 years presenting to ED with history of fever and travel to a malaria-endemic country, between 01/01/2016 and 31/12/2017. Diagnosis: microscopy for malarial parasites (clinical reference standard) and RDT (index test). UK Health Research Authority approval: 20/HRA/1341. RESULTS: There were 47 cases of malaria out of 1,414 eligible cases (prevalence 3.3%) in a cohort of children whose median age was 4 years (IQR 2-9), of whom 43% were female. Cases of Plasmodium falciparum totaled 36 (77%, prevalence 2.5%). The sensitivity of RDT alone to detect malaria infection due to any Plasmodium species was 93.6% (95% CI 82.5-98.7%), specificity 99.4% (95% CI 98.9-99.7%), positive predictive value 84.6% (95% CI 71.9-93.1%) and negative predictive value 99.8% (95% CI 99.4-100.0%). Sensitivity of RDT to detect P. falciparum infection was 100% (90.3-100%), specificity 98.8% (98.1-99.3%), positive predictive value 69.2% (54.9-81.2%, n = 46/52) and negative predictive value 100% (99.7-100%, n = 1,362/1,362). CONCLUSIONS: RDTs were 100% sensitive in detecting P. falciparum malaria. However, lower sensitivity for other malaria species and the rise of pfhrp2 and pfhrp3 (pfhrp2/3) gene deletions in the P. falciparum parasite mandate the continued use of microscopy for diagnosing malaria.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 3, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 18, 2023
Publication Date May 31, 2023
Deposit Date May 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 19, 2023
Journal Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Print ISSN 2048-7193
Electronic ISSN 2048-7207
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 5
Pages 290-297
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/jpids/piad024
Keywords Infectious Diseases, General Medicine, Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/10723683
Publisher URL https://academic.oup.com/jpids/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jpids/piad024/7127493?login=true

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