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Seroprevalence and risk factors for Leptospira spp. in small ruminants of semi-arid zone in northeastern Colombia

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Leptospirosis in small ruminants is an economically important disease that causes important losses by pathologies of the reproductive tract. The present study aimed to estimate the seroprevalence and risk factors associated with Leptospira spp. in small ruminants under traditional husbandry systems. A cross-sectional epidemiological study was carried out in a sample of 1039 animals which included 793 sheep and 245 goats from 49 farms of 10 municipalities of northeastern areas of Colombia. The MAT test using a panel of 13 laboratory serovars was performed to diagnose the Leptospira spp. antibodies in the serum samples of animals. A structured questionnaire was filled in each farm to obtain information on putative risk factors, and its association with Leptospira spp. infection was detected by univariate and multivariate logistic regression. The general seroprevalence showed a rate of 13.9%, the 79.6% of farms showed at least one positive animal, the 14.2% and 0.4% of positive animals showed titers ≥ 1:100 and 1:200, respectively. The seroprevalence in sheep and goats showed a rate of 13.1% and 16.2%, respectively. The most common serovars in positive animals were Autumnalis (3.6%), Tarassovi (3.4%), Bratislava (2.9%), Mini (2.9%), Bataviae (1.4%), Canicola (0.3%), and Grippotyphosa (0.3%). The univariate and multivariate analysis showed as risk factors the absence of housing system (OR = 3.412 CI: 1.347–8.152), the absence of quarantine measures to new animals (OR = 1.371 CI: 0.943–1.978), and the protective factor identified was the use of Toggenburg breed (OR = 0.571 CI: 0.249–1.074). This exploratory study showed the Leptospira spp. positive small ruminants located in the northeastern areas of Colombia with titer associated with chronic and subclinical infection.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

The authors confirm that the employed data supported the published claims, and the datasets analyzed during the study are available with the corresponding author by reasonable request.


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The authors express gratitude to the Colombian Company of Veterinary Products VECOL S.A, AGROSAVIA, and ICA for financial, technical, and operative support during the present research.

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Authors and Affiliations



Blanca Lisseth Guzmán-Barragán validated the study design, developed data curation, and contributed new methods or models, and wrote a draft paper. Lorena Catalina Martínez-Rodríguez, conceptualized the study, performed research, data analysis, and contributed with new methods or study models. Julio César Tobón-Torreglosa conceptualized the study, performed research, and data analysis. Gabriel Andres Tafur-Gómez validated the study design; developed data curation and analysis; contributed with new methods or models; and wrote and edited the draft paper. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Blanca Lisseth Guzman-Barragan.

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The animals used in this study received handling and treatment under qualified veterinary supervision following the animal experimentation rules described in the International Guiding Principles for Veterinary Research Involving Animals. The owners of animals were assigned informed consent before their inclusion and the personal or farm information was treated according to habeas data Colombian laws. This study was approved by the Animal Research Bioethics Committee of Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas y Ambientales with act number 001/2017.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Guzman-Barragan, B.L., Martínez-Rodríguez, L.C., Tobón-Torreglosa, J.C. et al. Seroprevalence and risk factors for Leptospira spp. in small ruminants of semi-arid zone in northeastern Colombia. Trop Anim Health Prod 54, 10 (2022).

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