Background: Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of childhood diarrhoea worldwide. The highest disease burden is seen in resource-constrained settings of sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, commercial multiplex PCR panels proved their accuracy to diagnose infectious gastroenteritis in Europe and the USA. However, data on their performance using samples from tropical regions in general and to detect rotavirus in particular remains scant. We aimed to analyse the diagnostic performance of the Luminex xTAG gastrointestinal pathogens panel, a multiplex PCR, to detect rotavirus in stool samples from Ghanaian children.
Methods: A total of 682 stool samples were collected in the Ashanti region of Ghana between 2007 and 2008. Of these, 341 were from cases (children with diarrhoea), and another 341 from controls (children without diarrhoea). All samples were analysed using the Luminex xTAG assay and compared to a rotavirus quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (reference assay). Rotavirus reference assay positive samples were P and G genotyped by sequencing the rotavirus VP4 and VP7 genes.
Results: Overall agreement between the Luminex xTAG and the reference assay was excellent (kappa 0.93). The sensitivity and specificity was 88.2 % (95 % confidence interval [CI] 78.2-94.1) and 100 % (95 % CI 99.2-100), respectively. Of 76 rotavirus reference assay positive samples, 64 were successfully genotyped and the Luminex xTAG assay was able to detect all rotavirus genotypes present in the study.
Conclusion: The Luminex xTAG assay proved a sensitive and highly specific tool to detect rotavirus and may aid clinicians and public health authorities in the diagnosis and surveillance of rotavirus.
Keywords: Luminex xTAG gastrotinestinal pathogens panel; Performance; Rotavirus; Stool samples; Sub-saharan Africa.