INSERM U 313, Faculte de Medecine Pitie-Salpetriere, Department of Parasitology, Zoonosis and Geographical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Clinique Veterinaire de Lupino, Paris, France
For effective control of visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum in the Mediterranean area, the detection of infected dogs is of utmost importance. To assess the suitability of a direct agglutination test (DAT) and immunoblot analysis in serodiagnosis and screening of infected dogs under field conditions, a study was performed on 113 dogs in an endemic area of Corsica. Twenty one of 22 parasitologically confirmed cases were correctly diagnosed by both tests, and 100% specificity was found when 11 dogs with other diseases were examined. Interestingly, eight of 80 apparently healthy dogs from the same area were found to be parasite-positive by the DAT test as well as by the immunoblot. Although both tests were equally sensitive and specific, based on both the feasibility of its application in field conditions and ease of performance, we consider the DAT to be more suitable for serodiagnosis and large-scale screening of infected dogs.