The laboratory diagnosis of enteric fever
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton
The diagnosis of enteric fever currently depends upon the isolation of Salmonella from a patient, most commonly by blood culture. This facility is not available in many areas where the disease is endemic. Serodiagnosis depends upon the 100-year-old Widal test, and other serological diagnostic tools have limitations because of their low sensitivity and/or specificity. The most promising recently published results are from PCR-based amplification of DNA from the blood of enteric fever patients but again this technique is not available where it is most needed. Antigen detection has not been investigated for well over three decades and detecting an immune response specific for typhoid fever has been done only with antibody detection. There is an urgent need for the rational design and evaluation of effective and appropriate diagnostics for enteric fever which must include the emerging threat of S. Paratyphi A.
Laboratory diagnosis, typhoid fever, enteric fever, Salmonella Typhi, serology, molecular tests, PCR diagnosis