Volume 53, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology was evaluated for the diagnosis of canine visceral leishmaniasis in Bahia, Brazil in a study of 125 dogs. The PCR was 100% sensitive in 25 dogs that had demonstrated by either culture or hamster inoculation. It was 100% specific for 35 dogs from the northeastern United States, all were PCR negative. However, 22 of 54 Brazilian dogs that were culture-hamster inoculation-negative were positive by PCR. The nature of the PCR product was identified by hybridization with specific probes. Whereas the sensitivity of serology in relationship to infection, as determined by hamster or culture assay was more than 80%, sensitivity of serology was only 63% when compared with PCR. These results raise questions about the use of serology to detect infection in dogs, and suggest that the PCR might serve as a better gold standard to define infection than culture or hamster inoculation.


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