Cross-sectional assessment of ELISA reactivity in leprosy patients, contacts, and normal population using the semisynthetic antigen natural disaccharide octyl bovine serum albumin (ND-O-BSA) in Cebu, The Philippines.
An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using natural disaccharide octyl bovine serum albumin (ND-O-BSA) as antigen was used in testing leprosy patients, contacts and a normal population in Cebu, The Philippines, from 1985 to 1989. A total of 1413 persons were studied. The results suggested that ELISA reactivity and the bacterial index (BI) correlate in a general way. In multibacillary (MB) leprosy, positivity ranges from 54.2% to 92.3% among patients with a BI of < 2+ to > 4+ on the Ridley scale, with an overall average of 84.5%. Paucibacillary (PB) leprosy patients have a low degree of reactivity, with only 15.0% ELISA positive. The test is more efficient in detecting MB than PB leprosy. The contacts of MB leprosy showed 6.5% positivity; contacts of PB leprosy, 7.0% positivity. The normal population showed 1.7% positive ELISA or 17 per thousand population, which is very much less than that of the household contacts. However, because the normal population is a much larger population than the household contact population in a community, more new leprosy cases would emanate from it. Leprosy workers are concerned about the transmission of the disease to household contacts. However, for the reason stated above, we should be more concerned with the silent spread of the disease to the normal population in the community.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)