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      PCR diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in asymptomatic dogs using conjunctival swab samples

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          The efficacy of conjunctival swab (CS) as a sampling method for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) diagnosis by PCR of asymptomatic dogs was evaluated. The CS was compared to blood samples (B) and skin biopsies (SB), two less invasive samples potentially useful for massive screening of dogs. Thirty asymptomatic dogs, with serological and parasitological positive tests, were used. The samples were analyzed by two PCR methods: kDNA PCR-hybridization and ITS-1 nPCR. The DNA sample volume used was of 1.0 microL and 10.0 microL respectively. Using CS samples the kDNA PCR-hybridization was able to detected parasite DNA in 24/30 dogs (80%) using the right conjunctiva (RC) and 23/30 dogs (76.6%) with the left conjunctiva (LC), 17/30 dogs (56.7%) by means of SB and 4/30 dogs (13.3%) with B. The CS positivity obtained combining RC and LC results was of 90% (27/30 dogs). The assay of CS samples by ITS-1 nPCR revealed that 25/30 dogs (83.3%) were positive when using RC and 20/30 dogs (66.6%) were positive when using LC. Via the same method 15/30 dogs (50.0%) were positive by SB and 17/30 dogs (56.7%) with B. The CS positivity obtained by ITS-1 nPCR combining RC and LC was of 83.3%. The CS positivities for RC and LC were significantly higher (p<0.05) than SB and B for kDNA PCR-hybridization method. Statistical difference in relation to SB and B was verified by ITS-1 nPCR only for RC. The kDNA PCR-hybridization and ITS-1 nPCR methods showed similar sensitivities for CS and SB samples. On the other hand, for blood samples, the positivity of ITS-1 nPCR was significantly higher than the one obtained by the kDNA PCR-hybridization, indicating that sensitivity of PCR methods can vary according to the biological sample examined. Our results showed that CS was suitable to detect Leishmania DNA in asymptomatic animals when comparing to other low-invasive samples. The CS sensitivities obtained in this study were similar to the ones observed in other studies for VL diagnosis in symptomatic dogs. We concluded that the use of CS for regular screenings of dogs by PCR should be considered. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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          Author and article information

          Veterinary Parasitology
          Veterinary Parasitology
          Elsevier BV
          June 2010
          June 2010
          : 170
          : 3-4
          : 201-206
          © 2010


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