Urinary PCR as an increasingly useful tool for an accurate diagnosis of leptospirosis in livestock


The aim of the present study was to consider the wide usage of urinary PCR as an increasingly useful tool for an accurate diagnosis of leptospirosis in livestock. A total of 512 adult animals (300 cattle, 138 horses, 59 goats and 15 pigs), from herds/flocks with reproductive problems in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was studied by serology and urinary PCR. From the 512 serum samples tested, 223 (43.5 %) were seroreactive (cattle: 45.6 %, horses: 41.3 %, goats: 34%and pigs: 60 %). PCR detected leptospiral DNA in 32.4 % (cattle: 21.6 %, horses: 36.2 %, goats: 77.4 % and pigs: 33.3 %. To our knowledge there is no another study including such a large number of samples (512) from different species, providing a comprehensive analysis of the usage of PCR for detecting leptospiral carriers in livestock. Serological and molecular results were discrepant, regardless the titre, what was an expected outcome. Nevertheless, it is impossible to establish agreement between these tests, since the two methodologies are conducted on different samples (MAT - serum; PCR - urine). Additionally, the MAT is an indirect method and PCR is a direct one. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that urinary PCR should be considered and encouraged as an increasingly useful tool for an accurate diagnosis of leptospirosis in livestock.

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This study was supported by National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Brazil. WL is a CNPq fellow.

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Correspondence to W. Lilenbaum.

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Hamond, C., Martins, G., Loureiro, A.P. et al. Urinary PCR as an increasingly useful tool for an accurate diagnosis of leptospirosis in livestock. Vet Res Commun 38, 81–85 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11259-013-9582-x

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  • Leptospira
  • Serology
  • PCR
  • Livestock
  • Diagnosis