Diagnosing risk factors alongside mass drug administration using serial diagnostic tests-which test first?
ABSTRACT: When tests are used in series to determine individual risk factors and infection status in a mass drug administration (MDA), the diagnostics, test order and subsequent treatment decisions (the testing algorithm) affect population-level treatment coverage and cost, but there is no existing framework for evaluating which algorithm optimizes any given outcome.We present a mathematical tool (with spreadsheet implementation) to analyse the effect of test ordering, illustrated using treatment for onchocerciasis in an area where high-burden Loa loa co-infections present a known risk factor.The prevalence of the infection and risk factor have a non-linear impact on the optimal ordering of tests. Testing for the MDA infection first always leaves more infected people untreated but fewer people with the risk factor being misclassified. The cost of the treatment given to infected individuals with the risk factor does not affect which algorithm is more cost effective.For a given test and treat algorithm and its costs, the correct strategy depends on the expected prevalence. In most cases, when the apparent prevalence of the target infection is greater than the apparent prevalence of the risk factor, it is cheaper to do the risk factor test first, and vice versa.
Project description:The use of alternative (or complementary) treatment strategies (ATSs) i.e. differing from annual community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) is required in some African foci to eliminate onchocerciasis by 2025. ATSs include vector control, biannual or pluriannual CDTI, better timing of CDTI, community-directed treatment with combinations of currently available anthelminthics or new drugs, and 'test-and-treat' (TNT) strategies requiring diagnosis of infection and/or contraindications to treatment for decisions on who to treat with what regimen. Two TNT strategies can be considered. Loa-first TNT, designed for loiasis-endemic areas and currently being evaluated using a rapid test (LoaScope), consists of identifying individuals with levels of Loa microfilaremia associated with a risk of post-ivermectin severe adverse events to exclude them from ivermectin treatment and in treating the rest (usually >97%) of the population safely. Oncho-first TNT consists of testing community members for onchocerciasis before giving treatment (currently ivermectin or doxycycline) to those who are infected. The choice of the ATS depends on the prevalences and intensities of infection with Onchocerca volvulus and Loa loa and on the relative cost-effectiveness of the strategies for the given epidemiological situation. Modelling can help select the optimal strategies, but field evaluations to determine the relative cost-effectiveness are urgently needed.
Project description:Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis (river blindness) constitute pressing public health issues in tropical regions. Global elimination programs, involving mass drug administration (MDA), have been launched by the World Health Organisation. Although the drugs used are generally well tolerated, individuals who are highly co-infected with Loa loa are at risk of experiencing serious adverse events. Highly infected individuals are more likely to be found in communities with high prevalence. An understanding of the relationship between individual infection and population-level prevalence can therefore inform decisions on whether MDA can be safely administered in an endemic community. Based on Loa loa infection intensity data from individuals in Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo we develop a statistical model for the distribution of infection levels in communities. We then use this model to make predictive inferences regarding the proportion of individuals whose parasite count exceeds policy-relevant levels. In particular we show how to exploit the positive correlation between community-level prevalence and intensity of infection in order to predict the proportion of highly infected individuals in a community given only prevalence data from the community in question. The resulting prediction intervals are not substantially wider, and in some cases narrower, than the corresponding binomial confidence intervals obtained from data that include measurements of individual infection levels. Therefore the model developed here facilitates the estimation of the proportion of individuals highly infected with Loa loa using only estimated community level prevalence. It can be used to assess the risk of rolling out MDA in a specific community, or to guide policy decisions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Foci of the HIV epidemic and helminthic infections largely overlap geographically. Treatment options for helminth infections are limited, and there is a paucity of drug-development research in this area. Limited evidence suggests that antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces prevalence of helminth infections in HIV-infected individuals. We investigated whether ART exposure and cotrimoxazole preventive therapy (CTX-P) is associated with a reduced prevalence of helminth infections. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:This cross-sectional study was conducted at a primary HIV-clinic in Lambaréné, Gabon. HIV-infected adults who were ART-naïve or exposed to ART for at least 3 months submitted one blood sample and stool and urine samples on 3 consecutive days. Outcome was helminth infection with intestinal helminths, Schistosoma haematobium, Loa loa or Mansonella perstans. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between ART or CTX-P and helminth infection. In total, 408 patients were enrolled. Helminth infection was common (77/252 [30.5%]). Filarial infections were most prevalent (55/310 [17.7%]), followed by infection with intestinal helminths (35/296 [11.8%]) and S. haematobium (19/323 [5.9%]). Patients on CTX-P had a reduced risk of Loa loa microfilaremia (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.47, 95% CI 0.23-0.97, P = 0.04), also in the subgroup of patients on ART (aOR 0.36, 95% CI 0.13-0.96, P = 0.04). There was no effect of ART exposure on helminth infection prevalence. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:CTX-P use was associated with a decreased risk of Loa loa infection, suggesting an anthelminthic effect of antifolate drugs. No relation between ART use and helminth infections was established.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The occurrence of Loa loa encephalopathy following mass treatment of onchocerciasis with Mectizan(R) has adversely affected onchocerciasis control efforts in central Africa. Persons with very high densities of L. loa microfilaremia are at increased risk of encephalopathy, but little is known about the geographic distribution of these persons within central Africa. RAPLOA, a new technique that correlates the proportion of community members reporting a history of eyeworm with the prevalence of high-intensity L. loa microfilaremia in that community, may be useful for rapid assessment of areas at potential risk of treatment-related L. loa encephalopathy. Validation of RAPLOA is ongoing. The operational and risk-reduction advantages of RAPLOA over the current technique of village-by-village rapid epidemiologic assessment for onchocerciasis (REA) are unknown. METHODS: We developed a decision model to compare four strategies for minimizing sequelae of L. loa encephalopathy following mass treatment with Mectizan(R) in areas co-endemic for onchocerciasis and loiasis: REA; RAPLOA with threshold eyeworm prevalences of 40% and 20% (RAPLOA-40 and RAPLOA-20, respectively); and combined REA/RAPLOA-40. RESULTS: In the model, all four strategies significantly reduced risk of death and neurologic complications from L. loa encephalopathy, but RAPLOA-20 and REA resulted in half as many such cases as did RAPLOA-40 or combined REA/RAPLOA-40. CONCLUSION: RAPLOA is likely to be useful programmatically in reducing risk of L. loa encephalopathy following mass treatment with Mectizan(R). It also may be cost-saving. Before full-scale implementation, additional data are needed on geographic clustering of high-density L. loa microfilaremia and on RAPLOA's reliability and cost.
Project description:Ivermectin-based mass drug administration (MDA) programs have achieved remarkable success towards the elimination of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. However, their full implementation has been hindered in Central Africa by the occurrence of ivermectin-related severe adverse events (SAEs) in a subset of individuals with high circulating levels of Loa loa microfilariae. Extending MDA to areas with coincident L. loa infection is problematic, and inexpensive point-of-care tests for L. loa are acutely needed. Herein, we present a lateral flow assay (LFA) to identify subjects with a serological response to Ll-SXP-1, a specific and validated marker of L. loa. The test was evaluated on serum samples from patients infected with L. loa (n = 109) and other helminths (n = 204), as well as on uninfected controls (n = 77). When read with the naked eye, the test was 94% sensitive for L. loa infection and was 100% specific when sera from healthy endemic and non-endemic controls or from those with S. stercoralis infections were used as the comparators. When sera of patients with O. volvulus, W. bancrofti, or M. perstans were used as the comparators, the specificity of the LFA was 82%, 87%, and 88%, respectively. A companion smartphone reader allowed measurement of the test line intensities and establishment of cutoff values. With a cutoff of 600 Units, the assay sensitivity decreased to 71%, but the specificity increased to 96% for O. volvulus, 100% for W. bancrofti, and 100% for M. perstans-infected individuals. The LFA may find applications in refining the current maps of L. loa prevalence, which are needed to eliminate onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis from the African continent.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mapping of lymphatic filariasis (LF) caused by Wuchereria bancrofti largely relies on the detection of circulating antigen using ICT cards. Several studies have recently shown that this test can be cross-reactive with sera of subjects heavily infected with Loa loa and thus mapping results in loiasis endemic areas may be inaccurate. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In order to develop an LF mapping strategy for areas with high loiasis prevalence, we collected day blood samples from 5,001 subjects residing in 50 villages that make up 6 health districts throughout Cameroon. Antigen testing using Filarial Test Strip (FTS, a novel platform that uses the same reagents as ICT) revealed an overall positivity rate of 1.1% and L. loa microfilaria (Mf) rates of up to 46%. Among the subjects with 0 to 8,000 Mf/ml in day blood, only 0.4% were FTS positive, while 22.2% of subjects with >8,000 Mf/ml were FTS positive. A Mf density of >8,200 Mf/ml was determined as the cut point at which positive FTS results should be excluded from the analysis. No FTS positive samples were also positive for W. bancrofti antibodies as measured by two different point of care tests that use the Wb123 antigen not found in L. loa. Night blood examination of the FTS positive subjects showed a high prevalence of L. loa Mf with densities up to 12,710 Mf/ml. No W. bancrofti Mf were identified, as confirmed by qPCR. Our results show that high loads of L. loa Mf in day blood are a reliable indicator of FTS positivity, and Wb123 rapid test proved to be relatively specific. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our study provides a simple day blood-based algorithm for LF mapping in loiasis areas. The results indicate that many districts that were formerly classified as endemic for LF in Cameroon are non-endemic and do not require mass drug administration for elimination of LF.
Project description:Since the mid-2000s, the immunochromatographic card test (ICT), a point-of-care test for detecting Wuchereria bancrofti circulating filarial antigens (CFAs), has been the backbone for mapping and monitoring lymphatic filariasis (LF) worldwide. Recently, there have been instances in which CFA positivity has been associated with Loa loa microfilaremia. Here, we examined the association, at both the community and individual levels, between L. loa and CFA using additional diagnostic tools (quantitative polymerase chain reaction [qPCR], Og4C3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgG4 antibodies to Wb123 assays) to demonstrate the relationship between L. loa microfilaremia and ICT positivity. In May 2013, peripheral blood was collected during the day from 1,812 individuals living in southern Cameroon. ICT tests were done on the spot, and positive individuals were resampled at night. Results of qPCR and Wb123 assays concurred proving the absence of W. bancrofti infection. Og4C3 assays indicate a quantitative relationship between the level of L. loa microfilaremia and that of CFA. This was confirmed by epidemiological analyses, which reveal a strong association between L. loa microfilaremia and ICT positivity, with 50% of ICT reacting to L. loa when its microfilarial density exceeds 30,000 microfilariae/mL. At the community level, the proportion of positive ICT would exceed 2% when the prevalence of L. loa microfilaremia in the total population is above 20%. This has significant implications in terms of mapping and control of LF caused by W. bancrofti in Loa-endemic areas. Cross-reactivity of ICT with L. loa has to be considered in the context of both individual and community diagnostics.
Project description:Loiasis is currently receiving attention as a disease of public health importance because of the possibility of increased risk of developing neurologic serious adverse event following mass ivermectin treatment against onchocerciasis in individual co-infected with Onchocerca volvulus and Loa loa.Rapid assessment procedure for loiasis (RAPLOA) was conducted in 12 communities covering the 3 senatorial districts of Osun State, Nigeria. A total of 960 people were interviewed for history of eye worm using the WHO guidelines for rapid assessment. The survey confirmed the presence of loiasis in all the 12 communities with 4 in Osun East/Ife south senatorial district being at high risk with a prevalence of over 40%. Based on the RAPLOA results, communities within Osun East/Ife south senatorial district were selected for microfilaraemic assessment of L. loa and O. volvulus. A total of 1115 and 1091 individuals were screened for L. loa and O. volvulus microfilaria worms respectively. 160 (14.3%) had L. loa microfilaria detected in their blood with 8 (5.0%) individuals having L. loa loads above 8000 mf/ml. 166 (15.2%) subjects had O. volvulus microfilaria (range 4-504 mf/ml) detected in their skin snip. 30 (2.69%) subjects were co-infected with both L. loa and O. volvulus. There was a significant variation in the prevalence (2.1% to 33.3%) of onchocerciasis in the communities studied (p = 0.001). Five (41.7%) of the studied communities had a prevalence that is equal to or greater than 20%.Low prevalence of onchocerciasis and loiasis co-infection in this study suggests that loiasis may not pose a serious epidemiological threat to the continuous distribution and sustainability of ivermectin for the treatment of onchocerciasis. Evaluation of the interruption of onchocerciasis transmissions in this region using all the indicators set forth by WHO is therefore suggested.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The filarial parasites Loa loa and Mansonnella perstans are endemic in the central and western African forest block. Loa loa is pathogenic and represents a major obstacle to the control of co-endemic filariae because its treatment can cause fatal complications such as encephalitis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 4392 individuals aged over 15 years were studied both by direct examination and a concentration technique. The overall prevalence rates were 22.4% for Loa loa microfilaremia, 10.2% for M. perstans microfilaremia, and 3.2% for mixed infection. The prevalence of both filariae was higher in the forest ecosystem than in savannah and lakeland (p<0.0001). The intensity of microfilariae (mf) was also higher in the forest ecosystem for both parasites. The prevalence and intensity of microfilaria were both influenced by age and gender. Correlations were found between the prevalence and intensity of Loa loa microfilariae (r?=?0.215 p?=?0.036), and between the prevalence of Loa loa and the prevalence of individuals with microfilaria >8000 mf/ml (r?=?0.624; p<0.0001) and microfilariae >30 000 mf/ml (r?=?0.319, p?=?0.002). In contrast, the prevalence of pruritis and Calabar swellings correlated negatively with the prevalence of Loa loa microfilaria (r?=?-0.219, p?=?0.032; r?=?-0.220; p?=?0.031, respectively). Pruritis, Calabar swellings and eye worm were not associated with L. loa mf intensity (r?=?-0.144, p?=?0.162; r-0.061, p?=?0.558; and r?=?0.051, p?=?0.624, respectively), or with the prevalence or intensity of M. perstans microfilariae. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This map of the distribution of filariae in Gabon should prove helpful for control programs. Our findings confirm the spatial uniformity of the relationship between parasitological indices. Clinical manifestations point to a relationship between filariae and allergy.
Project description:Implementation of an ivermectin-based community treatment strategy for the elimination of onchocerciasis or lymphatic filariasis has been delayed in Central Africa because of the occurrence of serious adverse events, including death, in persons with high levels of circulating Loa loa microfilariae. The LoaScope, a field-friendly diagnostic tool to quantify L. loa microfilariae in peripheral blood, enables rapid, point-of-care identification of persons at risk for serious adverse events.A test-and-not-treat strategy was used in the approach to ivermectin treatment in the Okola health district in Cameroon, where the distribution of ivermectin was halted in 1999 after the occurrence of fatal events related to L. loa infection. The LoaScope was used to identify persons with an L. loa microfilarial density greater than 20,000 microfilariae per milliliter of blood, who were considered to be at risk for serious adverse events, and exclude them from ivermectin distribution. Active surveillance for posttreatment adverse events was performed daily for 6 days.From August through October 2015, a total of 16,259 of 22,842 persons 5 years of age or older (71.2% of the target population) were tested for L. loa microfilaremia. Among the participants who underwent testing, a total of 15,522 (95.5%) received ivermectin, 340 (2.1%) were excluded from ivermectin distribution because of an L. loa microfilarial density above the risk threshold, and 397 (2.4%) were excluded because of pregnancy or illness. No serious adverse events were observed. Nonserious adverse events were recorded in 934 participants, most of whom (67.5%) had no detectable L. loa microfilariae.The LoaScope-based test-and-not-treat strategy enabled the reimplementation of community-wide ivermectin distribution in a heretofore "off limits" health district in Cameroon and is a potentially practical approach to larger-scale ivermectin treatment for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis in areas where L. loa infection is endemic. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others.).