Diagnostic Value of Rk39 Dipstick in PaediatricVisceral Leishmaniasis in Baghdad


Back ground: Visceral leishmaniasis is endemic in the middle and south of Iraq, it involves mostly infants. The disease is observed mainly among rural areas that are far from equipped medical centers. Therefore, there is a need for anon- invasive, cost- effective, reliable, easily available and fast method of diagnosis of this dngerous disease.
Objective: The aim was to compare the validity and predictive values of the recombinant K39 antigen (rK39) test with that of the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) test (the usual laboratory method) in the detection of visceral leishmaniasis.
Methods: A Cross-sectional study was done in AL-Mansour Pediatric Hospital (in AL-Rusafa), and Central Pediatric Hospital (in AL-Karkh) in Baghdad for 6 months duration (from the 1st of December 2004 to 30th of May 2005). Children less than five years who suspected to be infected with visceral leishmaniasis were selected and investigated by IFAT test and rK39 dipstick strip.
Results: The validity of rK39 test when evaluated with the standard methods IFAT test showed a sensitivity of 90.5%, specificity of 90.7%, predictive value positive of 77.9%, predictive value negative of 96.4% and 90.7% accuracy.
Conclusions: The rK39 antigen strip test is valid in the diagnosis of suspected children with visceral leishmaniasis as the test is rapid, sensitive, and specific.
Keywords: visceral leishmaniasis, rK39 dipstick,