Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious health problem in the southwestern region of Nepal. Serological diagnostic kits for routine diagnostic use in this region have not been available. This study was performed to examine if the particle agglutination (PA) assay for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) IgM could be applicable to the samples collected in Nepal and also to evaluate the accuracy of clinical diagnosis of JE. One hundred and ninety-three blood samples were collected from the patients clinically diagnosed with JE or other infectious diseases in the JE-endemic, southwestern region of Nepal, in 2000. The PA assay was performed on these 193 serum samples and the results were compared with those by IgM-capture ELISA. Eighty-six samples were IgM-positive by the PA assay, and 71 of 86 were also positive by IgM-capture ELISA (sensitivity, 99%; specificity, 88%; positive predictive value, 0·82; negative predictive value, 0·99). These results suggest that the PA assay is a simple, reliable and useful diagnostic test to support clinical diagnosis in rural hospitals of Asia including Nepal.
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