The number of patients with leishmaniasis is growing steadily in people with organ transplants, which means a reliable way to determine those patients have been exposed to the parasite is necessary, according to a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Researchers from Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), examined serologic and other data on 63 people in Spain who had received solid organ transplants. They also used data from lymphocyte proliferation assays and cytokine production to characterize those patients who may have been exposed. 

It is common for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) to appear in transplant recipients after months or years of receiving immunosuppressive therapy, according to the study researchers, whose findings were reported by SINC. The researchers noted that about 21.05% of solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients with no previous history of leishmaniasis had been in contact with the parasite

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“The results indicate the usefulness of whole blood stimulation assays, and of IFN-γ/TNF-α analysis, for determining exposure to Leishmania and confirming cure from visceral leishmaniasis in SOT recipients,” the researchers concluded. 


1. Carrillo E, Carrasco-Antón N, López-Medrano F, et al. Cytokine Release Assays as Tests for Exposure to Leishmania, and for Confirming Cure from Leishmaniasis, in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(10): e0004179. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004179