The use of direct agglutination test (DAT) in serological diagnosis of Ethiopian cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Leishmania aethiopica (L.a.) is the main species of Leishmania that causes Ethiopian cutaneous leishmaniasis (ECL). The routine diagnosis of ECL depends on parasitological examination of smear, culture or biopsy. In this study, DAT was set-up and evaluated for its diagnostic performance using defined sera of 45 ECL patients, 18 visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients, 12 patients with other diseases, and 37 normal controls. The test was also evaluated in 64 patients clinically diagnosed as ECL, leprosy, or other skin diseases. Using L.a. derived antigen, the sensitivity and specificity of the test was determined to be 90.5% and 91.8% respectively. However, using antigen derived from a non-homologous strain, only 4 sera of 21 active ECL patients were positive. Eighteen sera of VL patients were positive irrespective of the different antigen sources. The data show that DAT can be a useful addition to the diagnosis of ECL.