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Diagnostic Performance of Plasmodium falciparum Histidine-Rich Protein-2 Antigen-Specific Rapid Diagnostic Test in Children at the Peripheral Health Care Level in Nanoro (Burkina Faso)
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
(1) Background: Malaria control has strongly benefited from the implementation of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). The malaria RDTs used in Burkina Faso, as per the recommendation of the National Malaria Control Program, are based on the detection of histidine-rich protein-2 (PfHRP2) specific to Plasmodium falciparum, which is the principal plasmodial species causing malaria in Burkina Faso. However, there is increasing concern about the diagnostic performance of these RDTs in field situations, and so constant monitoring of their accuracy is warranted. (2) Methods: A prospective study was performed in the health district of Nanoro, where 391 febrile children under 5 years with an axillary temperature ≥37.5 °C presenting at participating health facilities were subjected to testing for malaria. The HRP2-based RDT and expert microscopy were used to determine the diagnostic performance of the former. Retrospectively, the correctness of the antimalaria prescriptions was reviewed. (3) Results: Taking expert malaria microscopy as the gold standard, the sensitivity of the employed RDT was 98.5% and the specificity 40.5%, with a moderate agreement between the RDT testing and microscopy. In total, 21.7% of cases received an inappropriate antimalarial treatment based on a retrospective assessment with expert microscopy results. (4) Conclusion: Malaria remains one of the principal causes of febrile illness in Burkina Faso. Testing with HRP2-based RDTs is inaccurate, in particular, due to the low specificity, which results in an over-prescription of antimalarials, with emerging antimalarial drug resistance as an important risk and many children not being treated for potential other causes of fever.
Journal: Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease