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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Jan;79(2):601-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02728-12. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Comparative analysis of Leptospira strains isolated from environmental soil and water in the Philippines and Japan.

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1
Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan. msaito@bact.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Abstract

There have been few reports on the epidemiological analysis of environmental Leptospira isolates. This is probably because the isolation of leptospires from the environment was usually unsuccessful due to the overgrowth of contaminants and the slow growth of Leptospira. In this study, we collected a total of 88 samples of soil and water from three sites: Metro Manila and Nueva Ecija, Philippines (an area where Leptospira is now endemic), and Fukuoka, Japan (an area where Leptospira was once endemic). We succeeded in isolating Leptospira from 37 samples by using the novel combination of five antimicrobial agents reported in 2011. The frequencies of positive isolation of Leptospira in the Philippines and Japan were 40 and 46%, respectively. For Leptospira-positive samples, five colonies from each sample were isolated and analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The isolates from each area showed their respective characteristics in phylogenetic trees based on the PFGE patterns. Some isolates were closely related to each other across borders. Based on 16S rRNA gene-based phylogenetic analysis, four isolates in Fukuoka were identified as a pathogenic species, L. alstonii; however, its virulence had been lost. One isolate from Nueva Ecija was identified as the intermediate pathogenic species Leptospira licerasiae. Most of the isolates from the environment belonged to nonpathogenic Leptospira species. We also investigated the strain variation among the isolates in a puddle over 5 months. We demonstrated, using PFGE analysis, that Leptospira survived in the wet soil on dry days and appeared in the surface water on rainy days. These results showed that the soil could be a reservoir of leptospires in the environment.

PMID:
23144130
PMCID:
PMC3553789
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.02728-12
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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