Date of this Version
Biometrical Journal. 2023;2200270. https://doi.org/10.1002/bimj.202200270
When screening a population for infectious diseases, pooling individual specimens (e.g., blood, swabs, urine, etc.) can provide enormous cost savings when compared to testing specimens individually. In the biostatistics literature, testing pools of specimens is commonly known as group testing or pooled testing. Although estimating a population-level prevalence with group testing data has received a large amount of attention, most of this work has focused on applications involving a single disease, such as human immunodeficiency virus. Modern methods of screening now involve testing pools and individuals for multiple diseases simultaneously through the use of multiplex assays. Hou et al. (2017, Biometrics, 73, 656–665) and Hou et al. (2020, Biostatistics, 21, 417–431) recently proposed group testing protocols for multiplex assays and derived relevant case identification characteristics, including the expected number of tests and those which quantify classification accuracy. In this article, we describe Bayesian methods to estimate population-level disease probabilities from implementing these protocols or any other multiplex group testing protocol which might be carried out in practice. Our estimation methods can be used with multiplex assays for two or more diseases while incorporating the possibility of test misclassification for each disease. We use chlamydia and gonorrhea testing data collected at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa to illustrate our work. We also provide an online R resource practitioners can use to implement the methods in this article.