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Leishmania, Antibodies

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Serological testing for Leishmania is used to diagnose and monitor leishmaniasis.

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Leishmania is a causative agent of leishmaniasis. Many species of the Leishmania genus that are pathogenic to humans do not show morphological differences and can be differentiated based on different biological criteria, laboratory analyses, different clinical images as well as epidemiological data.

Leishmania infantum, Leishmania donovani, and Leishmania chagasi cause visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar), with fever, splenomegaly, hypergammaglobulinemia, progressive anemia, leukopenia, etc.

Leishmania major, Leishmania mexicana, and Leishmania tropica cause cutaneous leishmaniasis, with skin lesions ranging from patches to ulcers and lesions resembling leprosy.

Leishmania braziliensis causes mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, with skin lesions similar to those of the cutaneous form, but they tend to spread to the mucosa and cause severe tissue damage.

Leishmaniasis is transmitted by female sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus (in the Old World) and of the genus Lutzomyia (in the New World) and which occur in the warmest regions of Asia, Africa, Europe (Mediterranean countries), and Latin America. Amastigotic forms of the parasite (amastigotes) are swallowed by the insect with a blood meal and transformed in the insect's intestine into thin forms with a long flagellum (called promastigotes) that multiply and migrate to the insect's proboscis. When the infected sandfly consumes another blood meal, the pre-existing forms are inoculated into a new host (human or other vertebrates).

In the host, the promastigotes are rapidly transformed (within 12-14 hours) into amastigotes, which are then released in an exocytosis-like process and can infect new cells. In cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, the parasites remain generally confined to the skin or to the skin and mucous membranes. Leishmaniasis skin lesions can last for a long time but tend to heal spontaneously, with a greater tendency for catastrophic changes in mucosal leishmaniasis. In contrast, in visceral leishmaniasis, parasites can invade the entire mononuclear phagocyte system into various organs (spleen, liver, lymph nodes, bone marrow, blood monocytes, etc.) and cause infections that are potentially fatal without treatment.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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