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Detection of bovine carriers of Leptospira by serological, bacteriological, and molecular tools

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Bovine leptospirosis is an important infectious disease that causes reproductive problems and economic risks, particularly in the tropics. The present study aimed to determine the extent of Leptospira infection among bovines on a slaughterhouse from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil via serological, bacteriological, and molecular tests. Two hundred eight bovines were examined in total, and we obtained 208 blood samples for serology, 198 urine samples collected via direct bladder puncture for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and culture, 208 kidney samples (one from each animal) for PCR and culture, and 92 vaginal fluid samples from sterile swabs for PCR and culture. Serology demonstrated that 77/208 (37%) of the animals presented anti-Leptospira antibodies. Serogroup Sejroe was by far the most common. One hundrd thirty-three animals (63.9%) were PCR positive in at least one of the tested samples and were considered as Leptospira carriers. Furthermore, ten isolates were obtained by pure culture, all of them from urine samples. Bovine leptospirosis is widely prevalent, and the occurrence of renal carriers was unexpectedly much higher than generally reported.

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The authors are thankful to Camila Hamond, Professor Bruno Penna (UFF), and Sabrina Thomé for their assistance. This study was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). Walter Lilenbaum is CNPq fellows.

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Correspondence to Melissa H. Pinna.

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Pinna, M.H., Martins, G., Loureiro, A.P. et al. Detection of bovine carriers of Leptospira by serological, bacteriological, and molecular tools. Trop Anim Health Prod 50, 883–888 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-018-1512-z

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  • Leptospirosis
  • Diagnostic
  • Slaughtered
  • PCR
  • Isolation