Leishmanin skin test (LST) antigens prepared from Leishmania braziliensis panamensis were compared with respect to sensitivity, specificity, and side effects. Within the dose range 0.5-3.0 x 10(5) promastigotes of L. b. panamensis and 10 x 10(5) promastigotes of combined L. amazonensis and L. b. panamensis, specificity in healthy controls was nearly 100% for all antigens. Sensitivity increased minimally with increasing dose. Lot-to-lot differences were small. Side effects, such as vesiculation and ulceration at the site of LST application increased with antigen dose. Storage under harsh conditions decreased LST potency but not sensitivity while storage at 2-8 degrees C affected neither potency nor sensitivity. Eighty-five percent of parasitologically diagnosed, LST-positive cases of leishmaniasis remained LST-positive when retested six months to three years later. The LST did not sensitive 19 healthy controls who were skin tested twice or thrice.