Leishmaniasis causes significant morbidity and mortality in areas where it is endemic. In areas where it is nonendemic, global travel and increased incidence of the disease in human immunodeficiency virus and intravenous-drug user populations are also causes for concern. The unavailability of rapid and reliable tests for diagnosis of the various leishmaniases makes patient management difficult. We have developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that can detect immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies in patients with visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis. These practical assays are based on soluble antigens from promastigotes cultivated in a protein-free medium. In preliminary studies, 129 visceral (Brazil, Italy, North Africa, and Nepal) and 143 cutaneous (Brazil) leishmaniasis patients with controls were tested. Overall, the tests showed a sensitivity of 95.1%. In addition, the ELISA correctly identified 42 sera from Brazilian dogs with canine leishmaniasis and 10 healthy controls. Serological tests for the various clinical manifestations of leishmaniasis could be useful epidemiological and patient management tools in populations of areas of endemicity and nonendemicity
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