Evaluation and optimization of the Circulating Cathodic Antigen (POC-CCA) cassette test for detecting Schistosoma mansoni infection by using image analysis in school children in Mwanza Region, Tanzania

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There is a need for diagnostic techniques which are sensitive, specific, rapid and easy to perform at the point-of-care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the Circulating Cathodic Antigen (POC-CCA) assay for Schistosoma mansoni in four schools along the coast of Lake Victoria in Mwanza Region, Tanzania, and to optimize the reading of the POC-CCA test lines by using a computer software image analysis. Initially, a pilot study in 106 school children indicated that time of urine collection did not have an impact on CCA results as 84.9% (90) had identical scores from a urine collected in the morning and a urine taken at midday after drinking 0.5 L of water. The main study was conducted among 404 school children (aged 9-12 years) where stool and urine samples were collected for three consecutive days. For S. mansoni diagnosis, stool samples were examined for eggs with duplicate Kato-Katz smears, whereas urine samples were tested for presence of antigen by POC-CCA. The proportion of positive individuals for S. mansoni by one POC-CCA was higher compared to two Kato-Katz smears (66.1% vs. 28.7%; p < 0.0001). Both proportions increased expectedly when three POC-CCAs were compared to six Kato-Katz smears (75.0% vs. 42.6%; p < 0.0001). Three POC-CCAs were more sensitive (94.7%) than six Kato-Katz smears (53.8%) using the combined results of three POC-CCAs and six Kato-Katz smears as the 'gold standard'. To optimize the reading of the POC-CCA, a Software tool (Image Studio Lite®) was used to read and quantify the colour (expressed as pixels) of the test line on all positive tests, showing a positive correlation between number of pixels and the visually scored intensities and between number of pixels and egg counts. In conclusion, the POC-CCA assay seems to be a more appropriate tool for S. mansoni diagnosis compared to the Kato-Katz method in endemic communities such as Mwanza Region. Optimization of the tool in terms of cassette-reading could be assessed by computer software which was able to quantify the colour of the lines in the strip of the cassette.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParasite Epidemiology and Control
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

ID: 164972923