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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1998 Jul;59(1):155-62.

The role of serology in the diagnosis and prognosis of visceral leishmaniasis in patients coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus type-1.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Seville, Spain.


To define the possible role of serology in the diagnosis and prognosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in patients with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection, the dynamics of humoral immune responses was investigated in 20 coinfected patients. Sequential sera obtained before, during, and after VL diagnosis were analyzed by an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), a recombinant ELISA (using the rK39 protein), and immunoblotting. During the active course of the disease, positive results were found by IFAT or ELISA in 22% of the cases and by immunoblotting in 78% of the cases. A great variability in the response was observed during the follow-up with a trend to more positive results near the time of VL diagnosis. Forty-six percent of the patients were positive by IFAT or ELISA on at least one time point before VL and 37.5% were positive during the period following treatment. These results confirm the limited usefulness of the IFAT and ELISA in the diagnosis of VL in coinfected patients and demonstrate their low ability to predict the development or the outcome of disease. In these patients, immunoblotting could be a useful tool for studying the natural course of leishmaniasis, although it has limited value for diagnosis or treatment control.

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