Campylobacter spp. are fastidious microorganisms, and their detection by culture depends on the freshness of the stool sample and the skills of the laboratory staff. To improve laboratory diagnosis, assays for the detection of specific antigens have been developed. Here, we evaluated two assays for the detection of Campylobacter spp.-specific antigens, i.e., one immunochromatographic test and one enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EIA), in 38 frozen Campylobacter spp.-positive specimens and prospectively in 533 fresh stool samples with a conventional enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and culture.
Both assays were positive for 36 samples with Campylobacter jejuni and one with Campylobacter coli among 38 Campylobacter spp.-positive frozen samples. One Campylobacter lari-positive sample was identified by the immunochromatographic assay (ICA) only. In a prospective study performed within the course of routine microbiology, both assays were positive for 24/25 C. jejuni culture-positive samples (positive percent agreement, 96.0% [95% CI: 78.9–100%]). ICA and EIA also were positive for 14 and 10 culture-negative samples, respectively (negative percent agreement: ICA, 97.2% [95% CI: 95.4–98.4%]; EIA, 98.0% [95% CI: 96.4–99.0%]). In conclusion, the high agreement between both antigen-detection assays and culture indicates that both assays may be initially performed followed by culture only upon a positive test result.