Early detection of novel Leishmania species DNA in the saliva of two HIV-infected patients

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Background: Leishmaniasis caused by two new species of Leishmania; L. siamensis and L. martiniquensis have been recently described in Thailand. The disease has mainly been documented in AIDS patients from southern Thailand. In this study, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to determine HIV-Leishmania co-infection in southern Thailand. Methods: One ml of saliva and 3ml of EDTA blood were collected from HIV-infected patients for PCR detection of Leishmania DNA, cloning and sequencing. The positive PCR samples were then cultured on Schneider's insect medium. Results: Three out of 316 saliva samples collected from HIV-infected patients were found to be positive for Leishmania DNA (0.95%). Among the positive samples, one patient was observed with disseminated cutaneous lesions and also tested positive via saliva, whole blood and buffy coat in PCR. The second case presenting with nodular lesions also gave a positive saliva test via PCR two months prior to buffy coat. This diagnosis was confirmed by microscopic examination and a culture of biopsy samples from a nodule. The last case was an asymptomatic Leishmania infection which tested PCR positive only in saliva with a consecutive sample collection conducted for three months. Conclusions: The prevalence of Leishmania infection in HIV infected patients within this study is 0.95%. Leishmania DNA was detected in saliva by PCR prior to blood and buffy coat of two HIV infected patients. Early detection of Leishmania DNA in saliva would be beneficial for the follow up of asymptomatic Leishmania infected patients, the early treatment of leishmaniasis and for surveillance survey purpose. However, full evaluation of sensitivity and specificity of this technique with a large cohort of patients is required before deployment.

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Siriyasatien, P., Chusri, S., Kraivichian, K., Jariyapan, N., Hortiwakul, T., Silpapojakul, K., … Phumee, A. (2016). Early detection of novel Leishmania species DNA in the saliva of two HIV-infected patients. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016-1433-2

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