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J Clin Microbiol. 1988 Jul;26(7):1321-5.

Improvement of a direct agglutination test for field studies of visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • 1N.H. Swellengrebel Laboratory of Tropical Hygiene, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To increase the potential for the wide-scale application of our direct agglutination test for visceral leishmaniasis, modifications in the components and procedures were introduced. Supplementation with 0.056 M citrate of the suspension medium stabilized the antigen for 9 weeks at 37 degrees C. To circumvent the need for cooling systems in the field, 0.2% (wt/vol) gelatin was added to the serum diluent instead of fetal bovine serum, with reliable results. Specificity and sensitivity were improved by the incorporation of 0.1 M 2-mercaptoethanol in samples with borderline titers. The test could be performed on samples of whole blood; thus the difficulties of preparation and storage of serum, plasma, or filter paper blood are avoided. For mass screening programs, a single serum dilution of 1:6,400 could be employed, contributing to a further reduction in test expenses. Sera from different geographical areas showed equal reactivities in this direct agglutination test despite the nonhomologous Leishmania donovani antigens used.

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