Counter-current immuno-electrophoresis was evaluated as a diagnostic test for the serodiagnosis of typhoid fever with somatic (O), flagellar (H) and capsular polysaccharide (Vi) antigens of on the sera of patients who were blood culture positive (confirmed typhoid cases) or had high Widal agglutination titres, ≥ 320, (presumptive typhoid cases). Of the 37 sera from confirmed cases, 30% showed positivity with O antigen, 24% with H antigens and 51% with Vi antigen. In patients with a presumptive diagnosis, 45% were positive for O antibody, 27% for flagellar antibody and 52% for Vi antibody. When all three antigens were combined the reactivity to any of the antigens was found to be 59% in confirmed typhoid cases, 79% in presumptive typhoid cases and 93% in patients who were simultaneously positive by blood culture and Widal agglutination. However, none of the sera from 45 controls gave a positive precipitation reaction with any of the antigens. It is concluded that counter-current immuno-electrophoresis is a rapid test with low sensitivity and high specificity with Vi antigen, a panel of antigens being most effective, and is, therefore, recommended for rapid diagnosis of typhoid fever.


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