Friday, May 18, 2012

All about Leishmaniasis part 3: Diagnosis of Kala Azar

Diagnosis of Leishmaniasis

Image of a bone marrow biopsy showing a macrophage containing Leishmania amastigotes.
Bone marrow biopsy specimen from a patient with visceral leishmaniasis showing a macrophage containing Leishmaniaamastigotes. CDC photo.
Diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis may require taking a blood sample and/or taking a biopsy from the bone marrow to show the parasite. Diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis will require a small biopsy or scraping of the ulcer. Diagnosis of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis requires a biopsy of the affected tissues.  
Biopsy samples are examined by microscopy, culture and other methods to look for the parasite and identify the specific kind of Leishmania causing the ulcer. Some of these methods will give results within a few days, but culture may take 2-4 weeks to demonstrate the parasite.

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