Misdiagnosis of enteric fever is a major global health problem, resulting in patient mismanagement, antimicrobial misuse and inaccurate disease burden estimates. Applying a machine learning algorithm to host gene expression profiles, we identified a diagnostic signature, which could distinguish culture-confirmed enteric fever cases from other febrile illnesses (area under receiver operating characteristic curve > 95%). Applying this signature to a culture-negative suspected enteric fever cohort in Nepal identified a further 12.6% as likely true cases. Our analysis highlights the power of data-driven approaches to identify host response patterns for the diagnosis of febrile illnesses. Expression signatures were validated using qPCR, highlighting their utility as PCR-based diagnostics for use in endemic settings.
EMBO Mol Med
biomarker, enteric fever, machine learning, transcriptomics