Pythiosis is a life-threatening infectious disease of both humans and animals living in Asia, Americas, Africa, and parts of Australia and New Zealand. The etiologic pathogen is the fungus-like organism Pythium insidiosum The disease has high mortality and morbidity rates. Use of antifungal drugs are ineffective against P. insidiosum, leaving radical surgery the main treatment option. Prompt treatment leads to better prognosis of affected individuals, and could be achieved by early and accurate diagnosis. Since pythiosis has been increasingly reported worldwide, there is a need for a rapid, user-friendly, and efficient test that facilitates the diagnosis of the disease. This study aims to develop an immunochromatographic test (ICT), using the bacterial protein A/G, to detect anti-P. insidiosum IgGs in humans and animals, and compare its diagnostic performance with the established ELISA. Eighty-five serum samples from 28 patients, 24 dogs, 12 horses, 12 rabbits, and 9 cattle with pythiosis, and 143 serum samples from 80 human and 63 animal subjects in a healthy condition, with thalassemia, or with other fungal infections, were recruited for assay evaluation. Detection specificities of ELISA and ICT were 100.0%. While the detection sensitivity of ELISA was 98.8%, that of ICT was 90.6%. Most pythiosis sera, that were falsely read negative by ICT, were weakly positive by ELISA. In conclusion, a protein A/G-based ICT is a rapid, user-friendly, and efficient assay for serodiagnosis of pythiosis in humans and animals. Compared to ELISA, ICT has an equivalent detection specificity and a slightly lower detection sensitivity.
Keywords: Immunochromatography; Pythiosis; Pythium insidiosum; Serodiagnosis.
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