Article Text

other Versions

PDF
Is rapid hepatitis C virus testing from corpses a screening option for index persons who have died after mass-casualty incidents in high-prevalence settings in the field?
  1. Ralf Matthias Hagen1,
  2. B Wulff2,
  3. U Loderstaedt3,
  4. I Fengler4,
  5. H Frickmann1,5,
  6. N G Schwarz6 and
  7. S Polywka7
  1. 1Department of Tropical Medicine at the Bernhard, Nocht Institute, German Armed Forces Hospital Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2Institue for Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  3. 3Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Medical Center Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany
  4. 4Laboratory Department 1, Central Institute of the German Armed Forces Medical Services, Koblenz, Germany
  5. 5Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Hospital of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  6. 6Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Bernard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany
  7. 7Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Lt Col MC Ralf Matthias Hagen, Department of Tropical Medicine at the Bernhard Nocht Institute, German Armed Forces Hospital Hamburg, Bernhard Nocht Street 74, D-20359 Hamburg, Germany; hagen{at}bni-hamburg.de

Abstract

Introduction We tested a commercially available rapid hepatitis C virus (HCV) test assay for its potential use for analyses of corpses as a screening option for index persons who have died after mass-casualty incidents in high-prevalence settings in the field.

Materials and methods 50 blood samples were drawn from 16 recently deceased confirmed HCV-positive patients whose corpses were stored at 4°C in the mortuary and were analysed at admission and up to 48 h post mortem by rapid serological testing using the ImmunoFlow HCV test (Core Diagnostics, Birmingham, UK) in comparison with automated serological assays and PCR. Samples from 50 HCV-negative corpses were also analysed.

Results The blood of only four of the 16 HCV-positive corpses reacted clearly with the ImmunoFlow HCV test, while in five cases the result was only weakly reactive and three cases showed very weak reactivity. Four of the infected corpses showed initially negative results, three of which became very weakly reactive 48 h post mortem. 49 out of 50 samples (98%) from HCV-negative corpses tested negative.

Discussion The rapid test system we investigated showed insufficient sensitivity regarding the identification of HCV positivity. Automated serological testing or PCR should be preferred if it is realistically available in the deployed military setting.

  • INFECTIOUS DISEASES
  • Received June 20, 2013.
  • Revision received July 23, 2013.
  • Accepted August 31, 2013.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

  • Received June 20, 2013.
  • Revision received July 23, 2013.
  • Accepted August 31, 2013.
View Full Text

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.