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Leishmaniasis, cutaneous
Diagnostic Methods
Diagnostic methodsPros and cons
Parasitological diagnosis 
Direct microscopy of skin biopsies (stained sections or smears) detecting amastigotes has a low sensitivity (50–70%). Somewhat better results – but with a delay – are obtained after cultivation. However, these traditional methods have now been replaced by molecular diagnostic tests.
  • Sensitivity of microscopy is not satisfactory
  • Cultivation takes 5–8 days and is often not successful
Molecular diagnosis 
Early DNA hybridization methods with specific probes have now been replaced by various PCR methods which are reaching “gold standard” status. In contrast to microscopy, molecular methods can distinguish species and subspecies of Leishmania by RFLP analysis of the amplicon.
  • High sensitivity and specificity
  • Differentiation of species and subspecies is possible
Antigen detection 
No tests developed 
Antibody detection 
No circulating antibodies can be detected in most cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis