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Clapasson A. 1, Nanni G. 2, Canata S. 1, Mendes Schettini A. P. 3, Da Graça Souza Cunha M. 3, Salvatore N. 4, Nunzi E. 4, Massone C. 4
1 Unità di Dermatologia Sociale, Centro di riferimento Nazionale per il Morbo di Hansen, Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale San Martino di Genova, Genova, Italia
2 Dipartimento di medicina sperimentale (DIMES), Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova, Italia
3 Fondazione Alfredo of Matta, Manaus, Brasile
4 Clinica Dermatologica, Universitá di Medicina Graz, Graz, Austria
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium (M.) leprae. Leprosy represents a serious disease both for patients (due to its neurological sequels) both for the community (due to its infectivity). Rifampicin is the most important drug in leprosy among multidrug therapy introduced in 1981 because it is bactericide on M. leprae. Rifampicin binds RNA polymerase in prokaryotes interfering with transcription and elongating RNA mechanisms. Rifampicin resistance is made by mutants in rpoB gene that encodes for ß-subunit of RNA polymerases. We report a patient resistant to rifampicin after a protracted but irregular leprosy treatment. We investigated the presence of rpoB mutants with PCR-ELISA. This technique is rapid and cheap and it is able to disclose rpoB mutants, representing a valid alternative to classical PCR.