• Biological diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt: current epidemic strategy and new perspectives.

      Chanteau, S; Rose, A; Djibo, S; Nato, F; Boisier, P; CERMES, Réseau International Institut Pasteur, PO Box 10887, Niamey, Niger. schanteau@cermes.org (Elsevier, 2007-09-03)
      Laboratory diagnosis is an essential component in surveillance of meningococcal epidemics, as it can inform decision-makers of the Neisseria meningitidis serogroup(s) involved and the most appropriate vaccine to be selected for mass vaccination. However, countries most affected face real limitations in laboratory diagnostics, due to lack of resources. We describe current diagnostic tools and examine their cost-effectiveness for use in an epidemic context. The conclusion is that current WHO recommendations to use only the latex agglutination assay (Pastorex) at epidemic onset is cost-effective, but recently developed rapid diagnostic tests for the major epidemic-causing meningococcal serogroups may prove a breakthrough for the future.
    • High sensitivity and specificity of the Pastorex latex agglutination test for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A during a clinical trial in Niger.

      Borel, T; Rose, A M C; Guillerm, M; Sidikou, F; Gerstl, S; Djibo, A; Nathan, N; Chanteau, S; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, 8 rue St Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. (2006-10)
      There is a great need for a rapid diagnostic test to guide vaccine choice during outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis in resource-poor countries. During a randomised clinical trial conducted during an epidemic of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A in Niger in 2003, the sensitivity and specificity of the Pastorex latex agglutination test for this serogroup under optimal field conditions were assessed, using culture and/or PCR as the gold standard. Results from 484 samples showed a sensitivity of 88% (95% CI 85-91%) and a specificity of 93% (95% CI 90-95%). Pastorex could be a good alternative to current methods, as it can be performed in a local laboratory with rapid results and is highly specific. Sensitivity can be improved with prior microscopy where feasible. A study specifically to evaluate the Pastorex test under epidemic conditions, using laboratories with limited resources, is recommended.