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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 352689, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/352689
Clinical Study

Early Revelation of Leprosy in China by Sequential Antibody Analyses with LID-1 and PGL-I

1Leprosy Hospital, Kaiyuan, Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan Province 661600, China
2Institute of Dermatology of Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan 661400, China
3Yunnan Provincial CDC, Kunming, Yunnan 650022, China
4Beijing Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Beijing Friendship Hospital-Affiliate of Capital University of Medical Sciences, 95 Yong An Road, Beijing 100050, China
5Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), Seattle, WA 98104, USA

Received 31 August 2012; Accepted 23 December 2012

Academic Editor: Bhushan Kumar

Copyright © 2013 Pan Qiong-Hua et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Leprosy is a disabling chronic infection, with insidious onset that often evades early detection. In order to detect new leprosy cases in a timely manner, we conducted surveillance visits in some difficult-to-reach mountain areas in South West China where the disease is still prevalent. Our data confirm that Chinese multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients have strong antibody responses against Mycobacterium leprae antigens ND-O-BSA and LID-1. Contacts of clinically diagnosed patients were then monitored at regular intervals by both physical examinations and the laboratory determination of antibody responses in sera collected during these examinations. Elevations in antibody titers indicated the onset of MB leprosy in one of the contacts, and diagnosis was subsequently confirmed on physical examination. Our data indicate that rising antibody titers can be used as a trigger for physical examination or increased monitoring of particular individuals in order to provide early leprosy diagnosis.