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Short communication: Towards saliva-based screening for sleeping sickness?

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A pilot study was carried out on the detection of trypanosome-specific antibodies in saliva for diagnosis of sleeping sickness. All twenty-three saliva samples of parasitologically confirmed Trypanosoma brucei gambiense patients tested positive in an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas all 14 saliva samples of a negative control group remained negative. Trypanosome-specific antibody levels in patient saliva correlated with antibody levels in serum, but were about 250-fold lower. Eight of 23 undiluted saliva samples of sleeping sickness patients tested positive in CATT/T. b. gambiense and two of 23 in LATEX/T. b. gambiense. All fourteen saliva samples of the negative control group were also positive in CATT/T. b. gambiense, as were four of 14 in LATEX/T. b. gambiense. CATT and LATEX were thus inappropriate for antibody detection in saliva. These results indicate that trypanosome-specific antibody detection in saliva is possible. This could lead to the development of a simple, non-invasive, reliable saliva field test for diagnosis of sleeping sickness.
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Keywords: CATT/T. b. gambiense; ELISA; LATEX/T. b. gambiense; Trypanosoma brucei gambiense; diagnosis; saliva; sleeping sickness

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium 2: Programme National de Lutte contre la Trypanosomiase Humaine Africaine, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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