Development of a TaqMan Array Card for Acute-Febrile-Illness Outbreak Investigation and Surveillance of Emerging Pathogens, Including Ebola Virus.


Acute febrile illness (AFI) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, yet an etiologic agent is often not identified. Convalescent-phase serology is impractical, blood culture is slow, and many pathogens are fastidious or impossible to cultivate. We developed a real-time PCR-based TaqMan array card (TAC) that can test six to eight samples within 2.5 h from sample to results and can simultaneously detect 26 AFI-associated organisms, including 15 viruses (chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] virus, dengue, Ebola virus, Bundibugyo virus, Sudan virus, hantaviruses [Hantaan and Seoul], hepatitis E, Marburg, Nipah virus, o'nyong-nyong virus, Rift Valley fever virus, West Nile virus, and yellow fever virus), 8 bacteria (Bartonella spp., Brucella spp., Coxiella burnetii, Leptospira spp., Rickettsia spp., Salmonella enterica and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, and Yersinia pestis), and 3 protozoa (Leishmania spp., Plasmodium spp., and Trypanosoma brucei). Two extrinsic controls (phocine herpesvirus 1 and bacteriophage MS2) were included to ensure extraction and amplification efficiency. Analytical validation was performed on spiked specimens for linearity, intra-assay precision, interassay precision, limit of detection, and specificity. The performance of the card on clinical specimens was evaluated with 1,050 blood samples by comparison to the individual real-time PCR assays, and the TAC exhibited an overall 88% (278/315; 95% confidence interval [CI], 84% to 92%) sensitivity and a 99% (5,261/5,326, 98% to 99%) specificity. This TaqMan array card can be used in field settings as a rapid screen for outbreak investigation or for the surveillance of pathogens, including Ebola virus.





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Publication Info

Liu, Jie, Caroline Ochieng, Steve Wiersma, Ute Ströher, Jonathan S Towner, Shannon Whitmer, Stuart T Nichol, Christopher C Moore, et al. (2016). Development of a TaqMan Array Card for Acute-Febrile-Illness Outbreak Investigation and Surveillance of Emerging Pathogens, Including Ebola Virus. J Clin Microbiol, 54(1). pp. 49–58. 10.1128/JCM.02257-15 Retrieved from

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John Andrew Crump

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine

I am based in northern Tanzania where I am Site Leader for Duke University’s collaborative research program based at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and Director of Tanzania Operations for the Duke Global Health Institute. I oversee the design and implementation of research studies on infectious diseases, particularly febrile illness, invasive bacterial disease, HIV-associated opportunistic infections, clinical trials of antiretroviral therapy and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and infectious diseases diagnostics. In addition, I am a medical epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My CDC work focuses on enteric infection epidemiology and prevention in developing countries, particularly invasive salmonelloses.

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