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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Apr;84(4):556-61. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0556.

Polymerase chain reaction detection of Leishmania kDNA from the urine of Peruvian patients with cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis.

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Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.


We hypothesized that Leishmania kDNA may be present in urine of patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Urine samples and standard diagnostic specimens were collected from patients with skin lesions. kDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed on samples from patients and 10 healthy volunteers from non-endemic areas. Eighty-six of 108 patients were diagnosed with CL and 18 (21%) had detectable Leishmania Viannia kDNA in the urine. Sensitivity and specificity were 20.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.3-29.5%) and 100%. Six of 8 patients with mucocutaneous involvement had detectable kDNA in urine versus 12 of 78 patients with isolated cutaneous disease (P < 0.001). L. (V.) braziliensis (N = 3), L. (V.) guyanensis (N = 6), and L. (V.) peruviana (N = 3) were identified from urine. No healthy volunteer or patient with an alternate diagnosis had detectable kDNA in urine. Sensitivity of urine PCR is sub-optimal for diagnosis. On the basis of these preliminary data in a small number of patients, detectable kDNA in urine may identify less localized forms of infection and inform treatment decisions.

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