Serological Assessment for Leishmania donovani Infection in Blood Donors of Sunsari District, Dharan, Nepal

Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus. 2016 Mar;32(1):95-9. doi: 10.1007/s12288-015-0505-6. Epub 2015 Jan 18.


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a major vector-borne disease caused by Leishmania donovani, after replication of the parasites in macrophages, mononuclear phagocytic system. VL is endemic in 12 districts of central and eastern Terai lowlands of Nepal bordering North Bihar, India with an estimated 8 million population at risk. In addition, VL endemicity is also extending to new endemic regions like Dharan from its classical rural foci. Hence, we aimed to detect the evidence of Leishmania donovani infection in the blood samples received from blood donors of Sunsari district, Dharan, (eastern Nepal), a region endemic for human VL. Sera from 507 asymptomatic blood donors were subjected to serological screening for anti-Leishmania donovani antibodies. Direct agglutination test (DAT) was performed on the sera. Out of 507 donors, majority (78.50 %) were male. Among the donors, 472 (93.10 %) belonged to age group 18-45 years where as 35 (6.90 %) to age group >45 years. Circulating anti-Leishmania antibodies were detected in 5 (1 %) out of 507 healthy, Human Immunodeficiency Virus types 1 and 2 (HIV 1and 2), Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg), anti- Hepatitis C Virus (anti-HCV)-negative, and Syphillis non-reactive donors. All the seropositive cases were male and belonged to the age group 18-45 years. The result suggests that there is an immediate need of screening asymptomatic blood donors for leishmania seropositivity especially in endemic areas.

Keywords: Asymptomatic blood donors; DAT; Dharan; Visceral leishmaniasis.