Trichomonas Vaginalis Latex Agglutination Test

The Disease
Trichomonas vaginitis is caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis and is probably the most widespread, non viral, sexually transmitted disease in the world with an estimated 170 million new cases per year (WHO 1995). In developed countries the rate of infection has decreased markedly within the last few years. In areas of Africa, where the infection rate remains high, epidemiological studies have indicated an association between the incidence of TV and HIV. Other studies have indicated a relationship with cervical neoplasia. Infections, even those which are asymptomatic, are always treated, usually with metronidizole.
Signs and symptoms of the infection include itching, erythema and malodorous vaginal discharge. However, a definitive diagnosis cannot be made from this as Trichomoniasis can be associated with other sexually transmitted diseases which may produce similar clinical features. It is therefore essential to use the information from available laboratory tests.

Problems of current laboratory diagnostic tests

The current laboratory methods are:-

  • Culture which can take up to seven days
  • Immunofluorescent assay which requires at least 30 minutes to perform and the use of a fluorescence microscope
  • Wet mount microscopy which requires the organism to be motile for identification and therefore must be undertaken soon after the sample swab is taken. Because of its clinical usefulness, this method is the most widely used although the accuracy, which depends upon the skill of the microscopist, has been estimated to be in the range 56-86%

The Kalon T. vaginalis latex kit
This simple, two minute, slide agglutination test detects Trichominas vaginalis antigen in the material eluted from the vaginal swab provided. It employs latex particles coated with affinity purified antibodies raised against isolates of Trichomonas vaginalis. The latex test requires no equipment or training and has a sensitivity and specificity at least as good as wet mount microscopy
1. Results can be obtained while the patient is still present and used by the physician in making a diagnosis. Published studies report a test sensitivity of 98.8% and specificity of 92.1%.2

Click here to see PDF file of Kit Insert
here for a list of references regarding the Kalon TV latex kit.

Ref 1: JA Carney, P Unadkat, A Yule, R Rajakumar, CJ Lacey, JP Ackers. A new rapid latex agglutination test for diagnosing Trichomonas vaginalis infection.
J Clin Pathol. 1988: 41:806-808 

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