A monoclonal antibody raised against Haemophilus ducreyi was tested for its sensitivity and specificity as an immunofluorescence (IF) reagent using simulated vaginal smears containing H. ducreyi, smears taken from skin lesions of mice infected with H. ducreyi and patients from South Africa, Thailand and Malaysia with clinically diagnosed chancroid. The IF test was more sensitive than culture or Gram staining in the simulated smears, theoretically detecting less than 4 organisms/sample. It detected H. ducreyi in 95% of the animal lesions compared with 14% detected by culture. Immunofluorescence testing identified over 90% of culture-positive cases of chancroid but also detected organisms in some culture-negative cases where clinical evidence for the diagnosis was strong. These results suggest that this antibody may provide a simple, rapid and sensitive means of detecting H. ducreyi in cases of chancroid.
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