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Thick Smear is a Good Substitute for the Thin Smear in Parasitological Confirmation of Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis

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  • 1 Laboratório de Pesquisa Clínica e Vigilância em Leishmanioses, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • | 2 Laboratório de Pesquisa Clínica em Dermatozoonoses em Animais Domésticos, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • | 3 Laboratório de Epidemiologia Clínica, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Although direct examination methods are important for diagnosing leishmaniasis, such methods are often neglected because of their low sensitivity relative to other techniques. Our study aimed to evaluate the performance of bone marrow (BM) thick smears and cytocentrifugation tests as alternatives to direct examination for diagnosing canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL). Ninety-two dogs exhibiting leishmaniasis seroreactivity were evaluated. The animals were euthanized; and healthy skin, spleen, popliteal lymph node, and BM puncture samples were cultured. BM cultures were used as the reference standard. Of the 92 dogs studied, 85.9% exhibited positive cultures, and Leishmania infantum (synonym Leishmania chagasi) was confirmed in all positive culture cases. The sensitivity rates for cytocentrifugation as well as thin and thick smears were 47.1%, 52.8%, and 77%, respectively. However, no association between the dogs' clinical status and culture or direct examination results was found. To our knowledge, this was the first study to use thick smears and cytocentrifugation for diagnosing CVL. Our results indicate that BM thick smears have a good sensitivity and their use reduces the time required to read slides. Therefore, thick smears can provide a rapid and safe alternative to parasitological confirmation of seroreactive dogs.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Cintia Xavier de Mello, Laboratório de Pesquisa Clínica e Vigilância em Leishmanioses, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia (INI), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Avenida Brazil 4365, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, CEP 21040-900, Brazil. E-mail: cintiaxmello@gmail.com

Financial support: This study was partially supported by the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq)-PAPES VI program, process number: 407700/2012-9 and Foundation for Research of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Grants JCNE: E-26/201.537/2014. Maria de Fátima Madeira and Fabiano Borges Figueiredo hold a grant from CNPq for their productivity in research.

Authors' addresses: Cintia Xavier de Mello, Luciana de Freitas Campos Miranda, and Maria de Fátima Madeira, Laboratório de Pesquisa Clínica e Vigilância em Leishmanioses (LapClinVigileish), Instituto Nacional de Infectologia, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, E-mails: cintiaxmello@gmail.com, luciana.freitas@ini.fiocruz.br, and fatima.madeira@ini.fiocruz.br. Fabiano Borges Figueiredo and Artur Augusto Velho Mendes Júnior, Laboratório de Pesquisa Clínica em Dermatozoonoses (LapClinDermzoo), Instituto Nacional de Infectologia, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, E-mails: fabiano.figueiredo@ini.fiocruz.br and artur.velho@ini.fiocruz.br. Raquel de Vasconcellos Carvalhaes de Oliveira, Laboratório de Epidemiologia Clínica, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, E-mail: raquel.oliveira@ini.fiocruz.br.

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