Background: Active case finding is crucial to reduce transmission and consequences of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections. We previously proposed the use of a prediction rule for CT infection for selective screening of high-risk individuals in a population. To support such an application, the prediction rule needs to be validated in other populations.
Methods: We studied participants aged 15 to 29 years in a population-based study in Amsterdam (n = 1,788) and an outreach screening project among high-risk youth in Rotterdam (n = 172). Validity was indicated by discriminative ability (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC]) and by calibration, which was visualized in plots and tested with the Hosmer-Lemeshow (H-L) goodness-of-fit test. Cutoffs of predicted risk were examined for their effect on sensitivity and the fraction of participants that would need to be screened.
Results: Discriminative ability was reasonable both for the Amsterdam study (AUC 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58-0.74) and for the Rotterdam study (AUC 0.68; 95% CI, 0.58-0.79). The observed CT prevalence was lower than predicted in Amsterdam (H-L P = 0.02) and nonsignificantly higher in Rotterdam (H-L P = 0.20). By screening 77% of the Amsterdam population, 93% of the cases would have been detected, whereas in the Rotterdam study, no cases would be missed by screening 75%.
Conclusion: The chlamydia prediction rule showed a reasonable external validity in two studies. These findings support the use of the rule as a tool for selective chlamydia screening, although only a limited fraction of participants can be excluded when a high sensitivity is required.