Short report: detection of Leishmaniavirus in human biopsy samples of leishmaniasis from Peru.

M SaizDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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A Llanos-CuentasDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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J EchevarriaDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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N RoncalDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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M CruzDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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M T MunizDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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C LucasDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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D F WirthDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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S ScheffterDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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A J MagillDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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J L PattersonDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

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Leishmaniavirus is a double-stranded RNA virus that persistently infects some strains of the protozoan parasite Leishmania. There is considerable interest in the possibility that the presence of this virus alters parasite phenotype and may affect disease pathogenesis. If so, the virus marker could provide a valuable prognostic indicator for human leishmaniasis, particularly in those cases caused by New World parasite strains. The virus has been detected in cultured L. braziliensis, L. b. guyanensis, and L. major. To date there has been no information as to the extent of infection in samples prior to culturing in the laboratory. This study demonstrates, through the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, that Leishmaniavirus exists in human biopsy samples of leishmaniasis prior to manipulation in culture.

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