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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jul;89(1):105-10. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0527. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Ultrasensitive real-time PCR for the clinical management of visceral leishmaniasis in HIV-Infected patients.

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Infectious Disease Department, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Molecular methods have been proposed as an alternative tool for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), but no data are available regarding use for monitoring clinical outcome. A prospective cohort study of human immunodeficiency virus-(HIV) and VL-coinfected patients was conducted in a university-affiliated hospital in Barcelona, Spain. Leishmania parasite load was monitored using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at baseline and every 3 months. Cutoff values for PCR were determined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Overall, 37 episodes were analyzed, and 25 of these episodes were considered as relapsing episodes. A significant decrease of parasite load measured 3 months after treatment could predict the clinical evolution of VL. A parasite load over 0.9 parasites/mL measured 12 months after treatment could predicts relapse with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 90.9%. Monitoring parasite load by an ultrasensitive quantitative Leishmania PCR is useful to predict the risk of relapse after a VL episode in HIV-infected patients.

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