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BMC Vet Res. 2020 Mar 17;16(1):89. doi: 10.1186/s12917-020-2230-0.

Leptospira infection and shedding in dogs in Thailand.

Author information

1
Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Centre for Clinical Veterinary Medicine, LMU Munich, Veterinaerstrasse 13, 80539, Munich, Germany. altheimerkerstin@gmail.com.
2
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
3
Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
4
Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
5
Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, Lelystad, the Netherlands.
6
OIE and National Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Leptospirosis, Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
7
IDEXX Laboratories, Ludwigsburg, Germany.
8
Department of Veterinary Sciences, Institute of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
9
Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Centre for Clinical Veterinary Medicine, LMU Munich, Veterinaerstrasse 13, 80539, Munich, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonosis and has been recognized as a re-emerging infectious disease in humans and dogs, but prevalence of Leptospira shedding in dogs in Thailand is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine urinary shedding of Leptospira in dogs in Thailand, to evaluate antibody prevalence by microscopic agglutination test (MAT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and to assess risk factors for Leptospira infection. In Northern, Northeastern, and Central Thailand, 273 stray (n = 119) or client-owned (n = 154) dogs from rural (n = 139) or urban (n = 134) areas were randomly included. Dogs that had received antibiotics within 4 weeks prior to sampling were excluded. No dog had received vaccination against Leptospira. Urine was evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) specific for lipL32 gene of pathogenic Leptospira. Additionally, urine was cultured for 6 months in Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris (EMJH) medium. Antibodies were measured by ELISA and MAT against 24 serovars belonging to 15 serogroups and 1 undesignated serogroup. Risk factor analysis was performed with backwards stepwise selection based on Wald.

RESULTS:

Twelve of 273 (4.4%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0-6.8%) urine samples were PCR-positive. In 1/273 dogs (0.4%; 95% CI: 0.01-1.1%) Leptospira could be cultured from urine. MAT detected antibodies in 33/273 dogs (12.1%; 95% CI: 8.2-16.0%) against 19 different serovars (Anhoa, Australis, Ballum, Bataviae, Bratislava, Broomi, Canicola, Copenhageni, Coxi, Grippotyphosa, Haemolytica, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Khorat, Paidjan, Patoc, Pyrogenes, Rachmati, Saxkoebing, Sejroe). In 111/252 dogs (44.0%; 95% CI: 37.9-50.2%) immunoglobulin M (IgM) and/or immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies were found by ELISA. Female dogs had a significantly higher risk for Leptospira infection (p = 0.023).

CONCLUSIONS:

Leptospira shedding occurs in randomly sampled dogs in Thailand, with infection rates comparable to those of Europe and the USA. Therefore, the potential zoonotic risk should not be underestimated and use of Leptospira vaccines are recommended.

KEYWORDS:

Canine; Culture; Dogs; ELISA; Leptospira; MAT; PCR; Risk factors; Seroprevalence; Zoonosis

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