The serological diagnosis of canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) remains problematic because there areno reliable commercially available tests. Most laboratories use domestically prepared tests such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or the indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT). We evaluated rapid immunochromatographic (RICH) test kits for the diagnosis of CVL. The tests were assembled with either Leishmania chagasi recombinant antigens K39 or K26 and with either gold-labelled Staphylococcus aureus protein A or Streptococcus pyogenes protein G. Fifty sera from dogs with CVL, 14 sera from dogs with Chagas disease, and 50 sera from normal healthy dogs were tested. The results show that the RICH test using recombinant antigen K39 has a sensitivity of 96% and 100% specificity for the diagnosis of CVL. No significant differences were observed in the tests assembled with either protein A or protein G. The RICH tests using recombinant antigen K26 were equally specific but less sensitive than those using K39. However, the 2 antigens complemented each other and increased the overall sensitivity of the test. Because of its simplicity and performance the RICH test is a quick and reliable alternative for the diagnosis of CVL either in conventional laboratories or for remote areas where laboratories are not readily accessible for conventional assays.

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