Accuracy of diagnostic tests for respiratory syncytial virus infection within a paediatric hospital population in Kilifi County, Kenya
Mweu MM, Murunga N, Otieno JW, Nokes DJ
Wellcome Open Res. 2020;5
Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-induced lower respiratory tract disease is a prominent cause of hospitalisation among children aged <5 years in developing countries. Accurate and rapid diagnostic tests are central to informing effective patient management and surveillance efforts geared towards quantifying RSV disease burden. This study sought to estimate the sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp) (along with the associated factors) and predictive values of a direct immunofluorescence test (IFAT), and two real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays for RSV infection within a paediatric hospital population: a multiplex rRT-PCR (MPX) and Fast-Track Diagnostics ((R)) (FTD) Respiratory Pathogens 33 (Resp-33) rRT-PCR. Methods: The study enlisted 1458 paediatrics aged =59 months admitted with acute respiratory illness at the Kilifi County Hospital between August 2011 and December 2013. A Bayesian latent class modelling framework was employed to infer the tests' estimates based on the patients' diagnostic data from the three tests. Results: The tests posted statistically similar Se estimates: IFAT (93.7%, [90.7; 95.0]), FTD (97.8%, [94.6; 99.4]) and MPX (97.5%, [94.2; 99.3]). As for Sp, FTD registered a lower estimate (97.4%, [96.2; 98.2]) than MPX (99.7%, [99.0; 100.0]) but similar to IFAT (99.0%, [98.2; 99.6]). The negative and positive predictive values were strong (>91%) and closely mimicked the pattern given by the Se and Sp values respectively. None of the examined covariates (age, sex and pneumonia status) significantly influenced the accuracy of the tests. Conclusions: The evaluation found little to choose between the three diagnostic tests. Nonetheless, with its relative affordability, the conventional IFAT continues to hold promise for use in patient care and surveillance activities for RSV infection within settings where children are hospitalised with severe acute respiratory illness.