Utility of multiplex PCR for early diagnosis and household contact surveillance for leprosy.
Early diagnosis of leprosy is important for limiting the severity of disease, which may lead to disabilities and deformities if not treated timely. Multiplex PCR employing more than one gene, specific to target DNA, is more efficient detection tool. In the present study, slit skin scrapings, blood, nasal swabs and saliva from Paucibacillary (PB) and Multibacillary (MB) cases as well as household contacts of PB cases were tested by multiplex PCR using three different gene targets namely RLEP, 16SrRNA and sodA. We found an increase in overall diagnostic positivity for M. leprae DNA detection by M-PCR as compared to individual PCR. In case of nasal swabs using M-PCR the PPV, NPV were 0.5454, 0.8333 respectively. There is remarkable increase in PPV in SSS of PB cases and nasal swabs of HHCs using M-PCR. Conclusively, our finding suggests the utility of M-PCR for early diagnosis and household contact surveillance for leprosy.