Non invasive diagnostic tools for visceral leishmaniasis: a comparison of the immunoserological tests DAT, rK26 and rK39
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
Introduction. Human visceral leishmaniasis is a serious public health problem in endemic countries because of its high potential
lethality, particularly in children. Rapid diagnosis is essential to early treatment and control of visceral leishmaniasis.
Objective. The aim was to compare three serodiagnostic tools for human visceral leishmaniasis. Materials and methods. Three
methods were compared: the rK39 dipstick (Kalazar detection test, Inbios International Inc.), ELISA rK26 and direct agglutination
test (DAT) (KIT Biomedical Research). Fifty serum samples from patients positive for rK39 ELISA were compared from four endemic
provinces in Venezuela: Nueva Esparta (Margarita island), Lara, Anzoategui and Trujillo. Additional serum samples from 17
healthy volunteers and 25 patients with other diseases were included. The rK39 ELISA served as the baseline standard method.
Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and likelihood ratio were calculated for each
test. Results. All methods had a positive correlation with rK39 ELISA(p<0.0001). They showed high sensitivity and specificity.
The direct agglutination test and the rK39 dipstick showed high sensitivity values, 89.7% (95% CI: 81.34.0-98.2%) and 94.2%
(95% CI: 87.7-100%), respectively, and high specificity, 81.0% (95% CI: 80.0-99.5%) and 100%. The rK26 ELISA showed good specificity,
99% (95% CI: 95.2-100%), but a very low sensitivity, 37% (95% CI: 23.4-50.2%). Conclusion. Overall results indicated that
DAT and rK39 dipstick have the highest specificity and sensitivity. Both are simple, cost-effective and field applicable tests.
Therefore, they are recommended for early and accurate diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis
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