Estimating prevalence from the results of a screening test

Am J Epidemiol. 1978 Jan;107(1):71-6. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a112510.


This paper deals with some basis properties of screening tests. Such tests purport to separate people with disease from people without. Minimal criteria for such a process to be a test are discussed. Various ways of judging the goodness of a test are examined. A common use of tests is to estimate prevalence of disease; frequency of positive tests is shown to be a bad estimate, and the necessary adjustmants are given.

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Morbidity*
  • Population Surveillance