Mucus and lymph smears collected from leprosy patients (9) and their
household contacts (44) in the Cano Mochuelo Indian Reservation, Casanare,
Colombia, were examined with monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) against
Mycobacterium leprae. The individuals studied were: 5 borderline
leprosy (BB) patients, 4 with a lepromatous leprosy (LL), all of whom were
undergoing epidemiological surveillance after treatment and 44 household
contacts: 21 of the LL and 23 contacts of the BB patients.
The MoAb were reactive with the following M. leprae antigens: 65 kd heat
shock protein, A6; soluble antigen G7 and complete antigen, E11. All the
samples were tested with each of the MoAb using the
avidin-biotin-peroxidase technique and 3,3 diaminobenzidine as chromogen.
The patients and household contacts studied were all recorded as
Ziehl-Neelsen stain negative.
The MoAb which showed optimal reaction was G7, this MoAb permited good
visualization of the bacilli. Five patients with BB diagnosis and one with
LL were positive for G7; of the BB patients' household contacts, 9 were
positive for G7; 7 of the LL patients' household contacts were positive for
the same MoAb. MoAb G7 allowed the detection of bacillar Mycobacterium
spp. compatible structures in both patients and household contacts. G7
permited the visualization of the complete bacillus and could be used for
early diagnosis and follow-up of the disease in patients.