In this study, we tested the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-method to diagnose cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) by taking exudate materials from lesions with cotton swabs, using our previously tested (PCR) panel comprised of Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis, L. (V.) braziliensis, L. (V.) guyanensis, L. (Leishmania) mexicana and L. (L.) amazonensis. The objectives of the present study were to improve the sampling method convenient for the patients and to test the usefulness of samples taken with cotton swabs. Sixteen patients were clinically diagnosed to have CL including one case of diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DCL) in Ecuador and the causative Leishmania parasites were identified by PCR. All the 12 samples from CL patients of La Mana, positive for Leishmania DNA, were identified as L. (V.) panamensis, while two from CL of Huigra and one from DCL of San Ignacio were L. (L.) mexicana. In the field condition, taking biopsy material is not only painful but sometimes causes iatrogenic bacterial infections. Considering the sensitivity of the test, and convenient sampling procedure, it may be suggested that collection of exudates using cotton swabs may be a better alternative to biopsy sample for PCR-diagnosis of CL.
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