Bayesian modelling to estimate the test characteristics of coprology, coproantigen ELISA and a novel real-time PCR for the diagnosis of taeniasis

Trop Med Int Health. 2013 May;18(5):608-14. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12089. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Objective: To estimate and compare the performances of coprology, copro-Ag ELISA and real-time polymerase chain reaction assay (copro-PCR) for detection of Taenia solium tapeworm carriers.

Methods: The three diagnostic tests were applied on 817 stool samples collected in two Zambian communities where taeniasis is endemic. A Bayesian approach was used to allow estimation of the test characteristics. Two (0.2%; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0-0.8), 67 (8.2%; 95% CI: 6.4-10.3) and 10 (1.2%; 95% CI: 0.5-2.2) samples were positive using coprology, copro-Ag ELISA and copro-PCR, respectively.

Results: Specificities of 99.9%, 92.0% and 99.0% were determined for coprology, copro-Ag ELISA and copro-PCR, respectively. Sensitivities of 52.5%, 84.5% and 82.7% were determined for coprology, copro-Ag ELISA and copro-PCR, respectively.

Conclusions: We urge for additional studies exploring possible cross-reactions of the copro-Ag ELISA and for the use of more sensitive tests, such as copro-PCR, for the detection of tapeworm carriers, which is a key factor in controlling the parasite in endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Helminth / analysis*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Taenia saginata / immunology
  • Taenia saginata / isolation & purification
  • Taenia solium / immunology
  • Taenia solium / isolation & purification*
  • Taeniasis / diagnosis*
  • Zambia


  • Antigens, Helminth
  • DNA Primers