Leishmania infantum is the causative agent of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) in the Mediterranean region. A seroprevalence study for CVL was conducted in northern Palestine. Domestic dogs (n = 148) were screened for antileishmanial antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Ten dogs (6.8%) were seropositive. Promastigotes were isolated from one seropositive dog and identified as L. infantum by excreted factor (EF) serotyping, isozyme electrophoresis, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition to the ELISA, the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-, modified ITS1 (mITS1)-, and kinetoplast DNA (kDNA)-PCRs were used to validate this technique as a diagnostic tool for CVL using blood; each assay was performed on 60 blood samples. kDNA-PCR (13/60 positives, 21.7%) was the most sensitive of the assays examined followed by mITS1-PCR (9/60, 15.0%), ELISA (5/60, 8.3%), and ITS1-PCR (3/60, 5%). However, ITS1-PCR and mITS1-PCR were also capable of identifying the parasite species and indicated they belong to L. infantum. In view of its higher sensitivity, kDNA-PCR is recommended for the routine diagnosis of CVL.

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