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May 1986

Direct-Smear Fluorescent Antibody Cytology as a Field Diagnostic Tool for Trachoma

Author Affiliations

From the University of Louisville School of Medicine (Ms Wilson); the Sanitary Jurisdiction Number II, Secretaria de Salubridad y Asistencia, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico (Dr Millan-Velasco); and the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (Drs Tielsch and Taylor).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(5):688-690. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050170078026

• A recently developed direct-smear fluorescent antibody (DFA) cytology method of detecting chlamydial infection was evaluated in an area where trachoma is endemic. Four hundred seventy-five children aged 2 to 10 years were examined, and adequate conjunctival cytology specimens were collected from 457 (96%). Trachomatous inflammatory changes were observed in 114 (25%) of the children. The DFA cytologic technique has a high specificity (100%) but a low sensitivity (8%). It offers a number of advantages over existing laboratory methods for diagnosing trachoma in the field. It is a rapid, simple, and easily transferred test that has a high specificity. Although DFA cytology shares the low sensitivity of other laboratory methods of diagnosing trachoma, we believe its logistical advantages make it the laboratory test of choice.