Comparing immunochromatography with latex antigen agglutination testing for the diagnosis of cryptococcosis in cats, dogs and koalas

Oxford University Press (OUP)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Medical Mycology, 2020, 58, (1), pp. 39-46
Issue Date:
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AbstractAlthough the point-of-care cryptococcal antigen lateral flow assay (LFA) has revolutionized the diagnosis of cryptococcosis in human patients, to date there has been no large-scale examination of this test in animals. We therefore assessed the LFA in cats, dogs and koalas suspected of having cryptococcosis. In sum, 528 serum specimens (129 from cats, 108 from dogs, 291 from koalas) were tested using the LFA and one of two commercially available latex cryptococcal antigen agglutination test (LCAT) kits. The LCAT is a proven and well-accepted method in veterinary patients and therefore taken as the “gold standard” against which the LFA was compared. The LFA achieved a sensitivity of 92%, 100%, and 98% in cats, dogs, and koalas, respectively, with corresponding negative predictive values of 94%, 100%, and 98%. The specificity of the LFA was 81%, 84%, and 62% for cats, dogs, and koalas, respectively, with corresponding positive predictive values of 76%, 48%, and 69%. These findings suggest the most appropriate role for the LFA is as a screening test to rule out a diagnosis of cryptococcosis in cats, dogs, and koalas. Point-of-care accessibility makes it equally suited for use in the field and as a cage-side test in veterinary hospitals. The suboptimal specificity of the LFA makes it less suited to definitive confirmation of cryptococcosis in animals; therefore, all LFA-positive test results should be confirmed by LCAT testing. The discrepancy between these observations and the high specificity of the LFA in humans may reflect differences in the host-pathogen interactions amongst the species.
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