Skin-biopsy specimens are regularly obtained from patients who attend the National Hansen's Disease Program outpatient clinic (Baton Rouge, LA) or are referred there for diagnosis. The specimens are stored in optimum-cutting-temperature compound (VWR) and frozen. We used frozen specimens from unrelated patients with multibacillary leprosy who presented between 1993 and 2007. Each sample was thawed, washed with phosphate-buffered saline, and processed by means of a DNeasy kit. Skin-biopsy specimens from 64 Venezuelan patients with leprosy living in 12 provinces were collected between 2007 and 2009, preserved in 70% ethanol, and processed for use in this study as described previously.


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