Comparison of the Diagnostic Accuracy of Three Rapid Tests for the Serodiagnosis of Hepatic Cystic Echinococcosis in Humans

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Feb 12;10(2):e0004444. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004444. eCollection 2016 Feb.


Background: The diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis (CE) is based primarily on imaging, in particular with ultrasound for abdominal CE, complemented by serology when imaging results are unclear. In rural endemic areas, where expertise in ultrasound may be scant and conventional serology techniques are unavailable due to lack of laboratory equipment, Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) are appealing.

Methodology/principal findings: We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of 3 commercial RDTs for the diagnosis of hepatic CE. Sera from 59 patients with single hepatic CE cysts in well-defined ultrasound stages (gold standard) and 25 patients with non-parasitic cysts were analyzed by RDTs VIRapid HYDATIDOSIS (Vircell, Spain), Echinococcus DIGFA (Unibiotest, China), ADAMU-CE (ICST, Japan), and by RIDASCREEN Echinococcus IgG ELISA (R-Biopharm, Germany). Sensitivity, specificity and ROC curves were compared with McNemar and t-test. For VIRapid and DIGFA, correlation between semiquantitative results and ELISA OD values were evaluated by Spearman's coefficient. Reproducibility was assessed on 16 randomly selected sera with Cohen's Kappa coefficient. Sensitivity and Specificity of VIRapid (74%, 96%) and ADAMU-CE (57%, 100%) did not differ from ELISA (69%, 96%) while DIGFA (72%, 72%) did (p = 0.045). ADAMU-CE was significantly less sensitive in the diagnosis of active cysts (p = 0.019) while DIGFA was significantly less specific (p = 0.014) compared to ELISA. All tests were poorly sensitive in diagnosing inactive cysts (33.3% ELISA and ADAMU-CE, 42.8% DIGFA, 47.6% VIRapid). The reproducibility of all RDTs was good-very good. Band intensity of VIRapid and DIGFA correlated with ELISA OD values (r = 0.76 and r = 0.79 respectively, p<0.001).

Conclusions/significance: RDTs may be useful in resource-poor settings to complement ultrasound diagnosis of CE in uncertain cases. VIRapid test appears to perform best among the examined kits, but all tests are poorly sensitive in the presence of inactive cysts, which may pose problems with accurate diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / blood
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / diagnosis*
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / parasitology
  • Echinococcus / immunology*
  • Echinococcus / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Serologic Tests / methods*


  • Antibodies, Helminth

Grants and funding

This study was carried out through funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7; under the project HERACLES, grant agreement n°[602051] to AC. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.