Enabling animal rabies diagnostic in low access areas: Sensitivity and specificity of a molecular diagnostic test from cerebral tissue dried on filter paper

Rasolonjatovo Felana Suzah, Guis Hélène, Rajeev Malavika, Dacheux Laurent, Nomenjanahary Lalaina Arivony, Razafitrimo Girard, Rafisandrantantsoa Jean-Théophile, Cetre-Sossah Catherine, Héraud Jean Michel, Andriamandimby Soa Fy. 2020. Enabling animal rabies diagnostic in low access areas: Sensitivity and specificity of a molecular diagnostic test from cerebral tissue dried on filter paper. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14 (3):e0008116, 16 p.

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Abstract : Rabies is a lethal zoonotic encephalomyelitis that causes an estimated 59,000 human deaths yearly worldwide. Although developing countries of Asia and Africa bear the heaviest burden, surveillance and disease detection in these countries is often hampered by the absence of local laboratories able to diagnose rabies and/or the difficulties of sample shipment from low-access areas to national reference laboratories. Filter papers offer a convenient cost-effective alternative for the sampling, shipment, and storage of biological materials for the diagnosis of many pathogens including rabies virus, yet the properties of diagnostic tests using this support have not been evaluated thoroughly. Sensitivity and specificity of molecular diagnosis of rabies infection using a reverse transcription followed by a hemi-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-hn-PCR) either directly on brain tissue or using brain tissue dried on filter paper were assessed on 113 suspected field animal samples in comparison to the direct fluorescent antibody test (FAT) recommended by the World Health Organization as one of the reference tests for rabies diagnosis. Impact of the duration of the storage was also evaluated. The sensitivity and the specificity of RT-hn-PCR i) on brain tissue were 96.6% (95% CI: [88.1–99.6]) and 92.7% (95% CI: [82.4–98.0]) respectively and ii) on brain tissue dried on filter paper 100% (95% CI: [93.8–100.0]) and 90.9% (95% CI: [80.0–97.0]) respectively. No loss of sensitivity of RT-hn-PCR on samples of brain tissue dried on filter paper left 7 days at ambient temperature was detected indicating that this method would enable analyzing impregnated filter papers sent to the national reference laboratory at ambient temperature within a 1-week shipment time. It could therefore be an effective alternative to facilitate storage and shipment of samples from low-access areas to enhance and expand rabies surveillance.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Rage, Diagnostic, disease recognition [EN], Analyse de tissus, Méthode alternative, Pays en développement, PCR

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Madagascar

Mots-clés libres : Rabies, Diagnostic, Diagnostic PCR, Madagascar, Sensibilité, Spécificité, Papier buvard, Brain

Classification Agris : L73 - Animal diseases

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 4 (2019-) - Santé des plantes, des animaux et des écosystèmes

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Rasolonjatovo Felana Suzah, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG) - auteur correspondant
  • Guis Hélène, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (MDG) - auteur correspondant
  • Rajeev Malavika, Princeton University (USA)
  • Dacheux Laurent, Institut Pasteur (FRA)
  • Nomenjanahary Lalaina Arivony, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG)
  • Razafitrimo Girard, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG)
  • Rafisandrantantsoa Jean-Théophile, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG)
  • Cetre-Sossah Catherine, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (REU)
  • Héraud Jean Michel, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG)
  • Andriamandimby Soa Fy, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (MDG)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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