Sensitivity and specificity of multibacillary and paucibacillary leprosy laboratory tests: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Torres, R.T.; Fachi, M.M.; Böger, B.; Marson, B.M.íc.; Ferreira, V.íu.L.; Pontarolo, R.; Guimarães, T.M.

Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 100(2): 115337

2021


ISSN/ISBN: 1879-0070
PMID: 33610964
DOI: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2021.115337
Accession: 072516253

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Abstract
This systematic review (number register: CRD42018112736) was performed to compare the sensitivity and specificity of leprosy diagnostic methods. The search was conducted in 3 electronic databases in January 2021. Studies evaluating leprosy diagnostic tests were included according the eligibility criteria. Meta-analysis was performed to calculate the sensibility and specificity of the groups. We included 36 studies. The test sensitivity for paucibacillary patients was 0.31 (95%CI: 0.29-0.33) and the specificity was 0.92 (95%CI: 0.92-0.93). In multibacillary patients, the sensitivity was 0.78 (95%CI: 0.77-0.80) and specificity was 0.92 (95%CI: 0.92-0.93). Comparing the sensitivity and specificity of the different techniques included, it should be noted that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test presented the highest sensitivity for paucibacillary patients, while the western blot technique showed the highest sensitivity for multibacillary patients. However, further studies are needed to optimise the diagnosis of leprosy, requiring research with a larger number of samples and more uniform protocols.