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Performance evaluation of five detection tests for avian influenza antigen with various avian samples

Chua, T-H, Ellis, T.M., Wong, C.W., Guan, Y., Ge, S.X., Peng, G., Lamichhane, C., Maliadis, C., Tan, S.W., Selleck, P. and Parkinson, J. (2007) Performance evaluation of five detection tests for avian influenza antigen with various avian samples. Avian Diseases, 51 (1). pp. 96-105.

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In this paper, we report on the evaluation of five influenza antigen detection tests by avian influenza H5N1 virus-positive swab samples to estimate their diagnostic sensitivity. The tests included two chromatographic immunoassays, an H5 avian influenza-specific antigen detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), an influenza Aantigen detection ELISA, and an H5 rapid immunoblot assay. The results showed that the overall sensitivities of these tests ranged from 36.3% to 51.4% (95% confidence interval ranging from 31.0% to 57.0%), which were comparable to Directigen™ Flu A antigen detection tests but substantially lower than genome detection methods. Diagnostic sensitivity performance is a function of the concentration of antigens in samples and the analytical sensitivity of the individual test. The test sensitivities were significantly higher for sick and dead birds by cloacal, tracheal, or tissue swabs than for fecal swabs from apparently healthy birds, and these tests would not be suitable for surveillance testing of clinically healthy birds. Furthermore, the sensitivity for testing tracheal and cloacal swabs from waterfowl and wild birds was not as good as for chickens. This was most likely to be associated with variation in virus titers between specimens from different bird species. However, the tests showed good sensitivities for testing brain swabs from clinically affected waterfowl species. The results indicate that these antigen detection tests could be used for preliminary investigations of H5N1 outbreaks as a low-cost, simple flock test in sick and dead birds for the rapid detection of H5N1 infection. However, the relatively low sensitivity of the tests as individual bird tests means that they should be used on optimal clinical specimens from diseased birds, testing birds on a flock basis, or testing samples as close to the onset of disease as possible before viral titers diminish. They should be followed up by confirmatory tests, such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or viral culture, wherever possible but could assist in facilitating rapid investigations and control interventions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: American Association of Avian Pathologists Inc.
Copyright: © 2007 American Association of Avian Pathologists
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