oa Molecular Diagnosis and Vaccines - The role of real time PCR in diagnosis of leprosy
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), which is one of the few known pathogenic bacteria that can not be cultivated in vitro. In the present study, real time PCR was introduced as a diagnostic tool to monitor individuals eight to ten years after completion of antileprosy therapy and to compare it with conventional method of acid fast bacillus (AFB) detection. The study was carried out on twenty four individuals who had leprosy eight to ten years ago and completed a course of Dapsone monotherapy. Slit skin smears were taken from all individuals. Three out of twenty four individuals (12.5%) had positive AFB while eight out of twenty four individuals were positive by real time PCR (33.3%). All individuals who had positive AFB were positive by real time PCR with a sensitivity of 67.19% and specificity of 100%. Nineteen out of twenty four individuals had residual lesion of leprosy but this had no significant association with detection of Mycobacterium leprae by AFB or real time PCR. So it is concluded that real time PCR may be a useful tool to monitor previously treated leprotical individuals for the purpose of infection control.
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