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Parasitology. 2018 Apr;145(5):595-607. doi: 10.1017/S0031182017001147. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Advances and challenges in barcoding pathogenic and environmental Leptospira.

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Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine,James Cook University,1 James Cook Drive,Townsville,QLD 4811,Australia.
Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine,College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences,University of Glasgow,University Avenue,Glasgow, G12 8QQ,UK.
Institut Pasteur in New Caledonia,Institut Pasteur International Network,Leptospirosis Research and Expertise Unit,Noumea,New Caledonia. 11 rue Paul Doumer,BP 61;98845 Noumea cedex,New Caledonia.


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial disease of global importance. A large spectrum of asymptomatic animal hosts can carry the infection and contribute to the burden of human disease. Environmental sources of human contamination also point to the importance of a hydrotelluric reservoir. Leptospirosis can be caused by as many as 15 different pathogenic or intermediate Leptospira species. However, classification of these bacteria remains complicated through the use of both serological and genetic classification systems that show poor correlation. With the advent of molecular techniques, DNA-based barcoding offers a conceptual framework that can be used for leptospirosis surveillance as well as source tracking. In this review, we summarize some of the current techniques, highlight significant successes and weaknesses and point to the future opportunities and challenges to successfully establish a widely applicable barcoding scheme for Leptospira.


Leptospira; barcoding; epidemiology; genotyping; zoonotic reservoir

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