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Leishmaniasis, mucosal
Diagnosis

Diagnostic methods

Parasitological diagnosis
Mucosal leishmaniasis is an important complication of South American cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Diagnosis is made by demonstration of the parasite in affected tissues. In the past, tissue samples were put into special cultures to demonstrate multiplication of promastigotes. Today, PCR offers a more sensitive and rapid alternative.
In rural areas, the Montenegro skin test is still in use. This test has a good sensitivity but cannot discriminate between acute and past infections.
None of the parasitological tests is considered a gold standard anymore.

Molecular diagnosis

Highly sensitive and specific nested and real-time PCR methods have been developed to detect DNA in mucosal samples. PCR is also possible with formalin-fixed histological samples!

Antigen detection

No tests developed so far

Antibody detection

Circulating antibodies can be detected in many but not all cases of mucosal leishmaniasis. The specificity of serological methods is rather low.

 

Diagnostic strategies

In endemic areas, diagnosis is often done on clinical findings. Definite diagnosis can only be reached with molecular methods.

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