Significance and value of the Widal test in the diagnosis of typhoid fever in an endemic area.
The diagnostic value of the Widal test was assessed in an endemic area. The test was done on 300 normal individuals, 297 non-typhoidal fevers and 275 bacteriologically proven cases of typhoid. Of 300 normal individuals, 2% had an H agglutinin titre of 1/160 and 5% had an O agglutinin titre of 1/160. On the basis of these criteria a significant H and/or O agglutinin titre of 1/320 or more was observed in 93-97% of typhoid cases and in only 3% of patients with non-typhoidal fever. Of the sera from typhoid cases which gave a significant Widal reaction, the majority (79.9%) showed increases in both H and O agglutinins and 51 of 234 (21.8%) of these sera were collected in the first week of illness. The significance and implications of these findings are discussed.