Methods: We assessed the sensitivity and specificity of the Tubex test among Tanzanian children hospitalized with febrile illness using blood culture as gold standard. Evaluation was done considering blood culture confirmed S. Typhi with non-typhi salmonella (NTS) and non - salmonella isolates as controls as well as with non-salmonella isolates only.
Results: Of 139 samples tested with Tubex, 33 were positive for S. Typhi in blood culture, 49 were culture-confirmed NTS infections, and 57 were other non-salmonella infections. Thirteen hemolyzed samples were excluded. Using all non - S. Typhi isolates as controls, we showed a sensitivity of 79% and a specificity of 89%. When the analysis was repeated excluding NTS from the pool of controls we showed a sensitivity of 79% and a specificity of 97%. There was no significant difference in the test performance using the two different control groups (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: This first evaluation of the Tubex test in an African setting showed a similar performance to those seen in some Asian settings. Comparison with the earlier results of a Widal test using the same samples showed no significant difference (p > 0.05) for any of the performance indicators, irrespective of the applied control group.