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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2006 Sep-Oct;39(5):421-7.

Diagnosing human asymptomatic visceral leishmaniasis in an urban area of the State of Minas Gerais, using serological and molecular biology techniques.

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Fundação Nacional de Saúde, Belo Horizonte, MG.


A population-based cross-sectional study was set up in Sabará country, Southeastern Brazil, to identify asymptomatic human visceral leishmaniasis in an urban area of low disease prevalence. Blood was collected on filter paper (n=1,604 inhabitants) and examined by indirect immunofluorescent test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunochromatographic strip test. The prevalence rates of infection ranged from 2.4 to 5.6% depending on the test used. One year later, venous blood was collected in a subset of 226 participants (102 seropositive and 124 seronegative). The tests performed were IFAT, ELISA, rk39-ELISA, polymerase chain reaction and hybridization with Leishmania donovani complex probe. No clinical signs or symptoms of leishmaniasis were observed. Using hybridization as a reference test, the sensitivity and specificity of serology were respectively: 24.8 and 71% (ELISA); 26.3 and 76.3% (rk-39); 30.1 and 63.4% (IFAT). Due to disagreements, different criteria were tested to define the infection and hybridization should be considered in epidemiological studies.

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