Usefulness of the rK39-immunochromatographic test, direct agglutination test, and leishmanin skin test for detecting asymptomatic Leishmania infection in children in a new visceral leishmaniasis focus in Amhara State, Ethiopia.

Research paper by Endalamaw E Gadisa, Estefanía E Custodio, Carmen C Cañavate, Luis L Sordo, Zelalem Z Abebe, Javier J Nieto, Carmen C Chicharro, Abraham A Aseffa, Lawrence L Yamuah, Howard H Engers, Javier J Moreno, Israel I Cruz

Indexed on: 05 May '12Published on: 05 May '12Published in: The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene


In areas where visceral leishmaniasis is anthroponotic, asymptomatically infected patients may play a role in transmission. Additionally, the number of asymptomatic patients in a disease-endemic area will also provide information on transmission dynamics. Libo Kemkem and Fogera districts (Amhara State, Ethiopia) are now considered newly established areas to which visceral leishmaniasis is endemic. In selected villages in these districts, we conducted a study to assess the usefulness of different approaches to estimate the asymptomatic infection rate. Of 605 participants, the rK39 immunochromatographic test was able to detect asymptomatic infection in 1.5% (9 of 605), direct agglutination test in 5.3% (32 of 605), and leishmanin skin test in 5.6% (33 of 589); the combined use of serologic methods and leishmanin skin test enabled detecting asymptomatic infection in 10.1% (61 of 605). We conclude that the best option to detect asymptomatic infection in this new visceral leishmaniasis-endemic focus is the combined use of the direct agglutination test and the leishmanin skin test.