Amoebic serodiagnosis at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), Kelantan employs an indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA) which detects anti-Entamoeba histolytica antibodies in patients' serum samples. In an amoebiasis endemic area such as Kelantan, interpretation of a positive IHA result can be problematic due to the high background antibody levels. The TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA is a commercial kit for detection of specific Gal/GalNAc lectin antigen in stool samples, and has been reported to be able to detect the antigen in serum samples from patients with amoebic liver abscess (ALA). Thus in this study we investigated the usefulness of TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA for diagnosis of ALA by comparing it with IHA. This is a cross sectional study involving 58 suspected ALA patients who were admitted to the surgical ward, HUSM, Kelantan. The diagnosis of ALA was established based on clinical symptoms and signs, ultrasound and/or CT scan results. The serum specimens obtained from the patients were tested with IHA (Dade Behring Diagnostics, Marburg, Germany) and TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA (Techlab, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA) according to the manufacturers' instructions. Of the 58 patients, 72.4% (42) were positive by IHA and only 8.6% (5) were positive by the TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA. Agreement between the IHA and ELISA was poor (kappa value 0.019, p=0.691). There was also no correlation between ELISA results and IHA antibody titers. The TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA was not sensitive in detecting amoebic antigen in samples from ALA patients. In addition the results of the test did not correlate with the IHA anti-E. histolytica antibody titres. Therefore, the TechLab E. histolytica II ELISA was found not to be useful for serological diagnosis of ALA at HUSM.
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