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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2001 Jul;96(5):679-81.

Skin reactions to thimerosal and Leishmania in dogs from a leishmaniasis endemic area: it is better to keep them apart.

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  • 1Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz-Fiocruz, 40295-001 Salvador, BA, Brasil.


Positive Montenegro's skin test is a delayed type hypersensitivity reaction widely used as indicative of previous infection with Leishmania in both humans and dogs. Montenegro's antigen consists of a crude Leishmania antigen solution, usually containing thimerosal as preserving agent. In this work it is shown that a large proportion of dogs (11 out of 56) examined in an endemic area of leishmaniasis presented induration at the site of injection of a diluent containing thimerosal alone. This clearly demonstrates that thimerosal leads to a high number of false positive skin reactions in dogs and that its use in Montenegro's skin test antigenic preparations should be avoided.

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