The Widal test is a serological test used to diagnose typhoid fever, a bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacterium. Here is a general procedure for conducting the Widal test:
- Collect a blood sample from the patient to be tested. The blood sample can be collected using standard venipuncture techniques.
- Allow the blood sample to clot, and then separate the serum from the clotted blood using centrifugation.
- Dilute the serum in a series of test tubes containing saline solution. The dilution levels typically range from 1:20 to 1:160.
- Add a standardized suspension of Salmonella typhi antigens to each test tube.
- Incubate the test tubes at 37°C for 24 hours.
- Examine the test tubes for agglutination (clumping) of the bacterial antigens. If agglutination occurs, it indicates the presence of antibodies to Salmonella typhi in the patient’s serum, which suggests that the patient has been exposed to the bacterium.
- Interpret the test results by determining the highest dilution level at which agglutination occurs. This is called the Widal titer. A high Widal titer indicates a recent or current infection with Salmonella typhi.
It is important to note that the Widal test can produce false-positive results in patients who have been vaccinated against typhoid fever or who have had a previous infection with a different Salmonella strain. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests and clinical symptoms to confirm a diagnosis of typhoid fever.