Typhoid Diagnosis: Don’t waste your money, WIDAL TEST is a scam!

Last last Nigerians will come to realise that WIDAL TEST IS A SCAM. Widal is a common cause of typhoid misdiagnosis especially in Nigeria and other developing countries. The combo of typhoid and malaria testing and treatment has led to the proliferation of unwholesome practices in diagnosis of typhoid in Africa.

What is typhoid-malaria?

Typhoid malaria is a non-existing medical condition coined by quacks to deceive and swindle gullible Nigerians. This word gained traction in “Nigeria’s medical dictionary” about a decade ago and has become a household disease since then.

The World health Organization do not recognize typhoid-malaria as a medical condition so any health care practitioner that tells you that your diagnosis is typhoid-malaria is a QUACK. RUN!!!

Widal test
Widal

I have come to realise that many labs even though they know that the widal test is no longer recommended by the WHO for the diagnosis of typhoid fever, still carry out the test on unsuspecting Nigerians just for money.

I had a discussion with a lab scientist who told me that patients remain adamant even when you tell them the test is useless. According to her, some Nigerians just walk into any lab and request for widal because  “they feel they have symptoms of typhoid”.

What is widal test?

It is a blood test named after its founder Georges-Fernand Widal. It was used until recently in the diagnosis of typhoid fever. Is it still useful? No, but still rampant in developing countries because of ignorance and poverty.

Is it still useful?

No, but still rampant in developing countries because of ignorance and poverty.

Why is it no longer useful…?

It has almost 95 percent false positives . This means 8 in 10 persons that come to the lab for widal test will test positive for typhoid even if they are actually negative. Ask yourself, have you even seen a negative widal test?

If not Widal, which test can one do for typhoid?

Blood culture, bone culture and stool culture are now the recommended test for the diagnosis of typhoid fever (enteric fever). According to the WHO, blood culture is the gold standard for typhoid diagnosis.

The World Health Organization, no longer recognises widal test as standard test for typhoid…

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that Widal, should not be used as a diagnostic tool for typhoid. WHO suggests that a blood culture before initiating antimicrobial therapy remains the diagnostic method of choice, although the isolation of Salmonella typhi from the bone marrow is the standard method for confirming a typhoid case.

The Federal Ministry of Health on Widal Test 

According to @fmohnigeria in 2008, “a positive culture is the ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of typhoid fever. Specimens for culture may be obtained from the blood, stool, urine, bone marrow, gastric and intestinal secretions.” It lists the Widal test as a non-specific investigation stating that the ‘Widal test gives high rates of false positives and negatives, and the guidelines emphasise that “there are no diagnostic tests for typhoid fever other than positive cultures.”

HMOs no longer cover Widal

The Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) have declined to cover the cost of the Widal test as they do not view them as a reliable test for typhoid fever diagnosis anymore.

Ugly truth

Even though the WHO guidelines state clearly that  Widal is not a diagnostic test, it is still widely used in many health facilities.

Recommendations

To the Nigerian people, be informed today, please do not waste your money on an archaic test that will always come out positive.

@Fmohnigeria, the Nigerian Standard Treatment Guideline as regards the treatment of typhoid fever needs to be enforced in every treatment and diagnostic centre in Nigeria.
The End

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