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Infect Genet Evol. 2010 Mar;10(2):273-7. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Leptospira wolffii, a potential new pathogenic Leptospira species detected in human, sheep and dog.

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Biotechnology Research Center, Institute Pasteur of Iran, Pasteur Avenue, P.O. Box 1316943551, Tehran, Iran. <>


Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic disease, which is transmitted to humans through contaminated water or direct exposure to the urine of infected animals. In this study, the presence and prevalence of Leptospira species in the infected samples of human (n=369) and sheep (n=75) sera and also dogs' urine (n=150), collected from four provinces of Iran, were investigated by using nested-PCR/RFLP assay followed by sequencing analysis. Nested-PCR assay detected that 98/369 (26.5%) human, 13/75 (17.33%) of sheep's sera and 33/150 (22%) dogs' urine samples were positive for Leptospira DNA. RFLP assay detected that all positive cases had either pathogenic or intermediate Leptospira species. By sequence analysis, Leptospira interrogans was the most prevalent species among the examined samples of human (53/82, 64.6%) and sheep (11/13, 84.6%). However, in dog samples, Leptospira wolffii (27/29, 93.1%) was detected for the first time and was the dominant species. The presence of L. wolffii with 100% identity in clinical human samples and animals suspected with Leptospira may provide evidence for circulation of L. wolffii and its role in transmission cycle within human and animal hosts. In addition, this species can be potentially pathogenic to human and probably animal hosts. A large epidemiology survey would be needed to define the presence and the prevalence of this species in global endemic regions.

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