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Rapid Detection of Leishmania Amastigotes in Fluid Aspirates and Biopsies of Human Tissues

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  • 1 Department of Pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
  • 2 * Department of Parasitology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100
  • 3 † Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100

When using a genus-specific monoclonal antibody (83-J3D2) as the primary reagent in an indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay (IFA), intracellular amastigotes of Leishmania were easily identified in 9 of 9 biopsies and in 11 of 12 needle aspirates taken from human lesions. In contrast, only 5 of the biopsies and 4 ofthe aspirates yielded promastigotes upon culture in vitro. Similarly, all but 2 of the aspirates and one-half of the biopsies were reported as negative for parasites when stained with Wright's and hematoxylin-eosin, respectively. Serum antibody titers, ranging from 1:8 to 1:128, corroborated the results of the amastigote detection assays when histopathology and isolation were negative.

These findings support the practicality of using the genus-specific monoclonal IFA in those field situations where it becomes necessary to differentiate leishmaniasis from other skin infections.

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