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Trop Med Int Health. 2013 May;18(5):548-54. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12085. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Molecular and serological markers of Leishmania donovani infection in healthy individuals from endemic areas of Bihar, India.

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1
Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Recent epidemiological reports indicate that asymptomatic human infections with Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis or Kala-azar (KA), occur frequently in India. We explored markers of infection.

METHODS:

Blood samples were collected from 286 healthy subjects from 16 villages in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. These individuals were classified into three groups: (i) persons with no history of KA and living in a house where no KA cases were previously reported, (ii) persons with no history of KA but living in a house where KA cases were diagnosed at the time of sampling or in the past, and (iii) successfully treated KA patients. Each sample was tested using a Leishmania-specific PCR to detect Leishmania DNA, and two serological tests to demonstrate anti-Leishmania antibodies: the Direct Agglutination Test and rK39 ELISA.

RESULTS:

PCR positivity was similar among the three groups (20-25%). In contrast, among treated patients, the percentage of serologically positive individuals was roughly five times that of healthy individuals with no KA history, as measured with either test. Living in a house where KA had been reported did not affect seropositivity.

CONCLUSION:

A significant proportion of asymptomatic infections of Leishmania exist in endemic regions. Using a combination of molecular and serological tests increases the capacity to detect infections at different stages. Further work is required to understand the kinetics of the markers.

PMID:
23464581
DOI:
10.1111/tmi.12085
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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