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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2014 Jan;78(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2013.09.012. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Rapid tests for diagnosis of leptospirosis: current tools and emerging technologies.

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Institut Pasteur, Unité de Biologie des Spirochètes, National Reference Center and WHO Collaborating Center for Leptospirosis, Paris, France.
World Health Organization, Health Security and Environment/Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases, 20 Av Appia, 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland.
Health and Climate Foundation, 1425K St NW suite 350, Washington DC 20005, USA.
Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra VA, Italy.
Royal Tropical Institute, KIT Biomedical Research, WHO/FAO/OIE and National Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Leptospirosis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:


Leptospirosis is an emerging zoonosis with a worldwide distribution but is more commonly found in impoverished populations in developing countries and tropical regions with frequent flooding. The rapid detection of leptospirosis is a critical step to effectively manage the disease and to control outbreaks in both human and animal populations. Therefore, there is a need for accurate and rapid diagnostic tests and appropriate surveillance and alert systems to identify outbreaks. This review describes current in-house methods and commercialized tests for the rapid diagnosis of acute leptospirosis. It focuses on diagnostic tests that can be performed with minimal training and limited equipment in less-developed and newly industrialized countries, particularly in resource-limited settings and with results in minutes to less than 4 hours. We also describe recent technological advances in the field of diagnostic tests that could allow for the development of innovative rapid tests in the near future.


Diagnostic test; Diagnostics; Early diagnosis; Early warning; Innovation; Leptospirosis; Outbreak; Surveillance

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