Leishmania spp are the causative agents of a spectrum of diseases termed leishmaniasis that affect mammals, including humans and dogs. Although reactive nitrogen species are employed in the control of parasitism by the immune system, it is known that Leishmania can withstand this oxidative stress.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a simple, rapid procedure that has been adapted for the diagnosis of leishmaniasis. In the present study, 85 blood samples and seven bone marrow aspirates from 85 patients with clinical symptoms suggestive of visceral leishmaniasis from the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais were screened using molecular and serological techniques. Samples that were negative (N = 12) and positive (N = 19) in parasitological and serological tests were used as controls.