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Cross-sectional study of population-specific streptococcal antibody titres in Uganda


Objective Despite substantial variation of streptococcal antibody titres among global populations, there is no data on normal values in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of this study was to establish normal values for antistreptolysin O (ASO) and antideoxyribonuclease B (ADB) antibodies in Uganda.

Design This was an observational cross-sectional study.

Setting This study was conducted at Mulago National Referral Hospital, which is located in the capital city, Kampala, and includes the Uganda Heart Institute.

Patients Participants (aged 0–50 years) were recruited. Of 428 participants, 22 were excluded from analysis, and 183 (44.4%) of the remaining were children aged 5–15 years.

Main outcome measures ASO was measured in-country by nephelometric technique. ADB samples were sent to Australia (PathWest) for analysis by enzyme inhibition assay: 80% upper limit values were established.

Results The median ASO titre in this age group was 220 IU/mL, with the 80th percentile value of 389 IU/mL. The median ADB titre in this age group was 375 IU/mL, with the 80th percentile value of 568 IU/mL.

Conclusions The estimated Ugandan paediatric population standardised 80% upper-limit-of-normal ASO and ADB titres is higher than many global populations. Appropriateness of using population-specific antibody cutoffs is yet to be determined and has important implications for the sensitivity and specificity of rheumatic fever diagnosis.

  • epidemiology
  • cardiology
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