Pertussis toxin IgA testing over-diagnoses recent pertussis infection
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The importance of pertussis toxin (PT) IgA testing in the diagnosis of recent pertussis infection remains unclear. The contribution of PT IgA to the diagnosis of recent pertussis was reviewed in two separate analyses. Firstly, an evaluation of two new automated assays [DiaSorin Liaison (DL), Italy] for PT IgG and PT IgA provided an opportunity to assess the contribution of PT IgA testing to PT IgG results. Secondly, a retrospective review of results from the PT IgA assay currently in use [Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) PT IgA] was performed from 2013 to 2015 (n=63,474). For both the DL and SNP assays, the combination of PT IgG and PT IgA resulted in reduced specificity as compared to PT IgG results alone. For DL assays, an algorithm restricting DL PT IgA testing to samples with equivocal PT IgG results, demonstrated superior specificity to routinely testing both assays. The retrospective review indicated that only a minority of patients had a SNP PT IgA response without an accompanying rise in SNP PT IgG. There was also evidence of an age-related increase in the prevalence of isolated positive SNP PT IgA results which did not appear to be associated with recent pertussis infection. In general, PT IgA appears to contribute little diagnostic value to an accurate PT IgG assay in a community-based, Australian population. Reflex testing of PT IgA in the context of equivocal PT IgG results may be worthwhile if laboratory workflow permits.
- Medicine Research [77 items ]