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Leishmania infantum

ELISA kit for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniosis in humans and dogs

Parasitology and clinical relevance

The parasites of the genus Leishmania are intracellular protists transmitted by an insect vector. Traditionally three forms of leishmanioses are clinically distinguished : One of these, visceral leishmaniosis, is caused by Leishmania infantum in the Mediterranean area and in South America and by L. donovani in Eastern Africa and in Southern Asia. This infection affects millions of individuals and is frequently lethal if left untreated. Recently a growing number of patients developed visceral leishmaniosis during a co-infection with HIV. Epidemiologically, the domestic dog is very sensitive to infection by L. infantum and is an important reservoir host for the transmission of the human disease. The culture of the parasite from biopsies or a direct detection of amastigotes in tissue smears are definitve proof for the presence of the parasite. However, as the antibody titers are usually elevated in the absence of HIV co-infection, serology is conveniently used as a less invasive procedure for the diagnosis and the follow-up during treatment of visceral leishmaniosis