, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 637-643

Diagnosis of Canine Leishmaniasis in the Endemic Area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil by Parasite, Antibody and DNA Detection Assays

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Canine leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania chagasi (L. infantum) is found throughout the South American continent, including Brazil, and dogs are considered to be the main reservoir host for this parasite. To support the implementation of a diagnostic protocol for surveillance of the disease in the region of Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais, Brazil) we have compared the sensitivity and specificity of two serological tests, indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) and direct agglutination test (DAT), with the combination of direct microscopy–culture–PCR as the gold standard, using samples obtained from 103 dogs in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. The currently used standard serodiagnostic test, IFAT, had a sensitivity of 100% and its specificity was 74% compared to the gold standard of the study. The sensitivity and specificity of the DAT were 100% and 91%, respectively. On the basis of this study it is recommended to change from the IFAT to DAT for the serodiagnosis of canine leishmaniasis because of the superior specificity of the test combined with its user-friendliness.