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Introduction: Hansen’s disease or leprosy is a contagious-infection entity produced by the Hansen bacillus or Mycobacterium leprae. The phenolic glycolipid is a special trisaccharide found in the bacillus cell wall and proved to be specific and immunogenic species during M. leprae.
Objective: To determine the presence of the Hansen bacillus enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) method glycolipid phenolic I in a group of patients in Dermatology Consultation at the Valle del Cauca Health Services; these patients were classified as cures or under watch according to criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Methodology: From the data base of the Dermatology Consultation at the Valle del Cauca Health Services, we studied 159 patients with Hansen’s disease who were tested with the enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) with the phenolic glycolipid I to cross reference information and observe if they were or were not positive to this test. A positive ELISA indicates the bacillus is still present in the patient.
Results: As an important fact, we found that of 78 patients cured, when bearing in mind the monitoring period, 9 were positive for the ELISA. When this period was discarded, 81 sick individuals were classified as cured according to WHO criteria but the same 9 continued positive for ELISA.
Conclusion: It may be concluded that in spite of meeting WHO criteria, these patients still show presence of the bacillus and the monitoring period is not required as a criterion to discharge a patient. We recommend adding to WHO criteria a negative ELISA, to obtain additional information that helps to certify that a patient is or is not cured.
Moreno, L. H., & Alzate, A. (2010). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of phenolic glycolipid-I in patients with Hansen’s disease. Colombia Medica, 41(2), 155–160. Retrieved from


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