A rapid serodiagnostic test for the diagnosis of paratrachoma (TRIC ophthalmia neonatorum, inclusion conjunctivitis, TRIC punctate keratoconjunctivitis, and trachoma of sexually transmitted origin) has been developed. The technique is based on using a modified micro-immunofluorescence test for detecting antichlamydial IgG and IgM in the blood and IgG and IgA in tears. The blood samples are collected on cellulose sponges after a finger prick, and tears are collected by introducing small sponges into the lower conjunctival fornix of the eye. The blood and tear samples collected in this way could be sent to the diagnostic laboratory by post without special arrangements for cold storage. In general the presence of antichlamydial IgG at a level of greater than or equal to 1/32 or IgM at a level of greater than or equal to 1/8 in blood and antichlamydial IgG or IgA at a level of greater than or equal to 1/8 in tears was closely associated with ocular paratrachoma. The combined results of the micro-IF test of blood and tears has yielded the highest rate of positivity (90%). In patients with acute untreated paratrachoma the sensitivity of this test was similar to that of irradiated McCoy cells. In patients with a milder infection receiving antibiotics the sensitivity of the serodiagnostic test was superior to that of the cultural test. The high sensitivity and specificity of this rapid, simple and inexpensive serodiagnostic test for the diagnosis of chlamydial ocular infections, coupled with simple and practical methods of collection and transport of blood and tear specimens, offer advantages over cultural tests for routine diagnosis and study of chlamydial ocular infections.
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