Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as Kala-azar, is found in tropical and subtropical areas of all continents except Australia, and affects 12 million people with an additional 1-2 million new cases per year. If left undiagnosed and untreated, visceral leishmaniasis may result in death. Serological detection of anti-L. donovani IgM is found to be an excellent marker for acute visceral leishmaniasis. Utilization of L. donovani specific protein rK39 in immunoassays has improved the sensitivity and specificity dramatically.
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