Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Leptospirosis in animals and human contacts in Egypt: broad range surveillance.

PMID 26108004


Leptospirosis is a re-emerging zoonotic disease of humans and animals worldwide. The disease is caused by pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira. These organisms are maintained in nature via chronic renal infection of carrier animals, which excrete the organisms in their urine. Humans become infected through direct or indirect exposure to infected animals and their urine or through contact with contaminated water and soil. This study was conducted to investigate Leptospira infections as a re-emerging zoonosis that has been neglected in Egypt. Samples from 1,250 animals (270 rats, 168 dogs, 625 cows, 26 buffaloes, 99 sheep, 14 horses, 26 donkeys and 22 camels), 175 human contacts and 45 water sources were collected from different governorates in Egypt. The samples were collected from different body sites and prepared for culture, PCR and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The isolation rates of Leptospira serovars were 6.9%, 11.3% and 1.1% for rats, dogs and cows, respectively, whereas the PCR results revealed respective detection rates of 24%, 11.3% and 1.1% for rats, dogs and cows. Neither the other examined animal species nor humans yielded positive results via these two techniques. Only six Leptospira serovars (Icterohaemorrhagiae, Pomona, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Celledoni and Pyrogenes) could be isolated from rats, dogs and cows. Moreover, the seroprevalence of leptospiral antibodies among the examined humans determined using MAT was 49.7%. The obtained results revealed that rats, dogs and cows were the most important animal reservoirs for leptospirosis in Egypt, and the high seroprevalence among human contacts highlights the public health implications of this neglected zoonosis.