Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus. In Australia, leishmaniasis is an imported disease that is presenting itself at increased rates because of international travel, the influx of immigrants, and deployment of military operations to endemic regions. Although species are morphologically indistinguishable, there is a strong correlation between some causative species of leishmaniasis and the subsequent response to the treatments available and patient outcome. Consequently, identification of the infective species is imperative as misidentification can result in the administering of an ineffective drug. The aim of this study was to develop a simple diagnostic tool with high sensitivity and specificity, which is capable of detecting the presence of the parasite and accurately differentiating the causative species in question. Using the advantageous properties of the maxi-circle kinetoplast DNA, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) targeting the gene was developed for the analysis of imported cases of human leishmaniasis in Australia. Designed as a dual analysis, concurrent PCR of maxi-circle DNA and digestion with two separate enzymes (III and CH4IV), this study provides an appraisal on 24 imported cases of leishmaniasis between 2008 and 2017. Five species were reported, with members of the subgenus being the most common. The implementation of novel diagnostic procedures for leishmaniasis such as the one reported here is needed to establish a gold standard practice for the diagnosis and treatment of leishmaniasis.


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Supplemental files

  • Received : 30 Jan 2019
  • Accepted : 02 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 22 Jul 2019

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