Nevin Manimala Statistics

Bayesian Network Analysis of Lymphatic Filariasis Serology from Myanmar Shows Benefit of Adding Antibody Testing to Post-MDA Surveillance

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2022 Jun 21;7(7):113. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed7070113.


The elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) is achieved through repeated mass drug administration (MDA) of anti-filarial medications, which interrupts transmission and prevents new infections. Accurate transmission assessments are critical to deciding when to stop MDA. Current methods for evaluating transmission may be insufficiently sensitive, resulting in post-MDA resurgence. We, therefore, evaluated potential diagnostic testing scenarios for post-MDA surveillance. Data were used from two surveys (a household cluster and a cohort) conducted in an area of Mandalay Region, Myanmar, with ongoing transmission following several rounds of MDA. First, age- and sex-adjusted seroprevalence were estimated for the area using the household survey. Next, three Bayesian networks were built from the combined datasets to compare antigens by immunochromatic testing (ICT) and/or Og4C3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and antibody (Ab) detection methods (Wb123 or Bm14 Ab ELISA). The networks were checked for validity and then used to compare diagnostic testing scenarios. The adjusted prevalence from the household survey for antigen, Wb123 Ab and Bm14 Ab were 4.4% (95% CI 2.6-7.3%), 8.7% (5.96-12.5%) and 20.8% (16.0-26.6%), respectively. For the three networks, the True Skill Statistic and Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve for antigen, Wb123 and Bm14 Ab were 0.79, 0.68 and 0.55; and 0.97, 0.92 and 0.80, respectively. In the Bayesian network analysis, a positive case was defined as testing positive to one or more infection markers. A missed result was therefore the probability of a positive case having a negative test result to an alternate marker. The probability of a positive case prior to any testing scenario was 17.4%, 16.8% and 26.6% for antigen, Wb123 Ab and Bm14 Ab, respectively. In the antigen-only testing scenario, the probability of a missed positive LF result was 5.2% for Wb123 and 15.6% for Bm14 Ab. The combination of antigen plus Bm14 Ab testing reduced the probability of missing a positive LF case as measured by Wb123 Ab to 0.88%. The combination of antigen plus Wb123 Ab was less successful and yielded an 11.5% probability of a missed positive result by Bm14 Ab testing. Across scenarios, there was a greater discordance between Bm14 and both antigen and Wb123 Ab in the 1-10 age group compared to older ages. These findings suggest that the addition of Bm14 Ab improves the sensitivity of LF testing for current or past infection. The combination of antigen plus Bm14 Ab should therefore be considered for inclusion in post-MDA surveillance to improve the sensitivity of transmission surveys and prevent the premature cessation of MDA.

PMID:35878125 | DOI:10.3390/tropicalmed7070113

By Nevin Manimala

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