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Diagnosis and Causative Species of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Southwest Saudi Arabia

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  • 1 Medical Research Center, Jazan University, Jazan, Saudi Arabia;
  • | 2 Department of Pediatric Medicine, King Fahad Central Hospital, Jazan, Saudi Arabia;
  • | 3 Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Saudi Arabia;
  • | 4 The National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Jazan, Saudi Arabia;
  • | 5 Department of Pediatric Medicine, Prince Mohamed Bin Nasir Hospital, Jazan, Saudi Arabia

ABSTRACT.

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most severe clinical form of the disease and has been reported in the Jazan region of southwest Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to diagnose VL by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the direct agglutination test (DAT) and to identify the causative Leishmania species. A total of 80 participants, including 30 suspected VL patients, 30 healthy endemic control individuals, and 20 malaria disease controls, were enrolled in this study. Blood samples were collected and tested for Leishmania DNA by real-time PCR and for antibody by the DAT. Sequencing of some amplified PCR products was used to identify the causative Leishmania species. The diagnosis of VL was successfully achieved by both real-time PCR and by DAT with 100% sensitivity. Leishmania donovani and Leishmania infantum species were detected by sequencing both by the kDNA and ITS1 target genes, followed a BLASTn search. The detection of VL antibody by the DAT followed by the confirmatory detection of Leishmania DNA in patient blood by PCR could promote the adoption of the much less invasive and more sensitive methods for the routine diagnosis of VL. Further study with high sample volume to evaluate the PCR and the DAT are needed, to generate more robust evidence. Based on the sequencing results, emerging studies on VL should focus on the causative Leishmania species, reservoirs, and vectors that are important in the study area.

    • Supplemental Materials (DOCX 1142 KB)

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Aymen Abdelhaleem, Medical Research Center, Jazan University, Jazan 45142, Saudi Arabia. E-mail: aabdelhaleem@hotmail.com

Financial support: This project received funding from the Jazan University 2017 from the annual research program (grant number JUP8//00074).

Authors’ addresses: Aymen Abdelhaleem, Medical Research Center, Tropical and Endemic Disease Research Unit, Jazan University, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, E-mail: aabdelhaleem@hotmail.com. Nabil Dhayhi and Haider Al Arishi, Department of Pediatric Medicine, King Fahad Central Hospital, Jizan, Saudi Arabia, E-mails: ndhayhi@gmail.com and arishih@hotmail.com. Mohamed Salih Mahfouz, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, E-mail: mm.mahfouz@gmail.com. Ommer Dafalla, The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Tropical Medicine, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, E-mail: omerda@moh.gov.sa. Mansour Mubarki, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Prince Mohamed Bin Nassir Hospital, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, E-mail: almobaraki97@hotmail.com. Fahad Hamedhi and Abdullah Al Hazmi, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Prince Mohamed Bin Nasir Hospital, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, E-mails: dr.fahad2010@hotmail.com and aahazmi06@hotmail.com.

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