Background: Dengue diagnosis is complex and until recently only specialized laboratories were able to definitively confirm dengue infection. Rapid tests are now available commercially making biological diagnosis possible in the field. The aim of this study was to evaluate a combined dengue rapid test for the detection of NS1 and IgM/IgG antibodies. The evaluation was made prospectively in the field conditions and included the study of the impact of its use as a point-of-care test for case management as well as retrospectively against a panel of well-characterized samples in a reference laboratory.
Methodology/principal findings: During the prospective study, 157 patients hospitalized for a suspicion of dengue were enrolled. In the hospital laboratories, the overall sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of the NS1/IgM/IgG combination tests were 85.7%, 83.9%, 95.6% and 59.1% respectively, whereas they were 94,4%, 90.0%, 97.5% and 77.1% respectively in the national reference laboratory at Institut Pasteur in Cambodia. These results demonstrate that optimal performances require adequate training and quality assurance. The retrospective study showed that the sensitivity of the combined kit did not vary significantly between the serotypes and was not affected by the immune status or by the interval of time between onset of fever and sample collection. The analysis of the medical records indicates that the physicians did not take into consideration the results obtained with the rapid test including for care management and use of antibiotic therapy.
Conclusions: In the context of our prospective field study, we demonstrated that if the SD Bioline Dengue Duo kit is correctly used, a positive result highly suggests a dengue case but a negative result doesn't rule out a dengue infection. Nevertheless, Cambodian pediatricians in their daily practice relied on their clinical diagnosis and thus the false negative results obtained did not directly impact on the clinical management.