Diagnostic performance of three rK39 rapid diagnostic tests and two direct agglutination tests for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in Southern Iran

Zahra Rezaei, Bahman Pourabbas, Vera Kühne, Parham Pourabbas, Philippe Büscher

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


To evaluate the diagnostic performance of five alternative serodiagnostic tests, serum samples from 100 confirmed visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients, 197 healthy endemic individuals, and 58 non-VL patients living in southern Iran were compared. The VL patients were defined as individuals with a positive result of the immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), having clinical signs and symptoms and appropriate response to treatment. The index tests were two direct agglutination tests, DAT-ITM (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium) and DAT-KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), and three rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), Kalazar Detect (InBios International Inc., USA), IT Leish (Bio-Rad, catalog 710124), and Leishmania test (Cypress Diagnostic Company, Belgium). Sensitivities of DAT-ITM and DAT-KIT were low, respectively, 56% and 59%, while specificities were acceptable, respectively, 98% and 93%. Observed sensitivities and specificities of RDTs were higher (71%, 81%, 70% and 99%, 99%, 98% for Kalazar Detect, IT Leish, and Leishmania test, respectively). Even with a maximum sensitivity of 81%, RDTs missed almost one-fifth of VL patients that were positive in IFAT. We conclude that RDTs in VL patients do not possess adequate performance in southern Iran and require some improvement, but they can still be helpful in the diagnosis and screening of the disease in this region due to their high specificity and speed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Tropical Medicine
Pages (from-to)3569704
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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