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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 Jun;21(6):461-4. Epub 2002 Jun 14.

Evaluation of a rapid immunochromatographic test for serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Clinica Medica, Immunologia e Malattie Infettive, Sezione di Microbiologia e Immunologia, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza G. Cesare, 70124 Bari, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of a rapid immunochromatographic dipstick test for the qualitative detection of circulating antibodies to the leishmanial recombinant antigen K39 with that of a classical immunofluorescent antibody test for serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. Sera from 143 Italian subjects, including 69 patients with clinically suspected visceral leishmaniasis, 23 patients with hypergammaglobulinemia and 51 healthy controls, were tested. The immunochromatographic test was performed according to the manufacturer's instructions, using antigen-impregnated nitrocellulose paper strips. The immunofluorescent antibody test was performed according to an established method, using promastigotes of Leishmania infantum zymodeme Montpellier 1 as antigen. In 11 patients, diagnosis of active Leishmania infection was established by microscopic examination of biopsy samples and/or clinical response to meglumine antimoniate. Results of the two tests correlated for all but two sera examined. In two patients, one with proven infectious mononucleosis and one with bacterial pneumonia, the immunofluorescent antibody test was positive and the dipstick test was negative. In the restricted sample of patients in whom a definitive diagnosis was established, the immunochromatographic test was positive in 11 of 11 patients with confirmed Leishmania infection and negative in 103 of 103 subjects who either had other documented diseases or were healthy controls, showing 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity.

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