Highly discordant serology against Trypanosoma cruzi in central Veracruz, Mexico: role of the antigen used for diagnostic Thu, 17/09/2015 - 01:00 Background: Chagas disease is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In Mexico, the burden of the disease is difficult to estimate and improving surveillance for Chagas disease is an important priority. We aimed here at determining the seroprevalence of T. cruzi infection in humans in a rural community in Veracruz. Methods: Serum samples (196) were analyzed for T. cruzi infection using five enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests: two in-house tests based on crude parasite extract and three commercial ELISA kits. Because of highly discordant results, we further explored the importance of parasite antigens and strains by western-blot analysis. Results: A total of 74 samples (37.7 %) were reactive with at least one ELISA, but discordance among tests was very high. The best agreement was between Chagatest recombinant and Chagatek ELISA (Kappa index = 0.798). The agreement between other combinations of tests ranged from 0.038 to 0.518. Discordant samples were confirmed by western-blot analysis using up to nine parasite strains, giving a seroprevalence of 33.7 %. Conclusions: Commercial tests had a very limited ability to detect T. cruzi infection in the study population. In-house tests based on crude parasite antigens showed a greater sensitivity but were still unable to detect all cases of T. cruzi infection, even when based on a local parasite strain. The high seroprevalence confirmed the hyper-endemicity of T. cruzi infection in the region. Reliable epidemiological surveillance of Chagas disease will require the development of improved diagnostic tests.