Visceral leishmaniasis: use of the polymerase chain reaction in an epidemiological study in Baringo District, Kenya

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. Sep-Oct 1995;89(5):492-5. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(95)90081-0.


The polymerase chain reaction was applied to capillary blood spots dried on filter paper from 20 parasitologically proved cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), 21 subclinical cases, and 11 healthy controls in a longitudinal study of anthroponotic VL in Baringo District, Kenya. Leishmania deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was detected 10.5 months before diagnosis and up to 3 years after diagnosis and apparently successful treatment. Subclinical cases can have detectable circulating parasite DNA in their blood. These findings may indicate that subclinical cases can be a reservoir and formerly treated VL patients can remain a reservoir for a long time. Xenodiagnosis should be performed on subclinical cases and former VL patients to establish their role in transmission of VL in Kenya.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agglutination Tests
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Leishmania donovani / genetics
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / epidemiology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / parasitology
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / transmission
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Protozoan