The rK39 immunochromatic dipstick testing: a study for K39 seroprevalence in dogs and human leishmaniasis patients for possible animal reservoir of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis in endemic focus of Satluj river valley of Himachal Pradesh (India).
BACKGROUND: The newly recognized endemic focus of leishmaniasis in Satluj river valley of Himachal Pradesh (India) has both localized cutaneous leishmaniasis (LCL) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) predominantly caused by Leishmania donovani. Rapid rK39 immunochromatographic dipstick test detects circulating antibodies to recombinant K39 antigen of L. donovani-infantum complex and is highly specific/sensitive in diagnosing symptomatic or asymptomatic infection in humans and dogs.
METHODS: The sera from two VL patients and 13 LCL patients, and 31 dogs were subjected to rK39 immunochromatographic dipstick testing with an aim to identify possible animal reservoir for leishmaniasis in this endemic focus.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The positive rapid rK39 immunochromatographic dipstick test in 100% VL and 31.8% LCL patients, and 6.5% dogs suggests that both VL and LCL in this focus are apparently being caused by L. donovani-infantum and that reservoir infection is perhaps being chiefly maintained in asymptomatic dogs. However, it needs corroborative evidence in the form of in-vitro parasite cultivation and/or PCR studies for confirmation. A more elaborate study is recommended.