Leptospira in livestock in Madagascar: Uncultured strains, mixed infections and small mammal-livestock transmission highlight challenges in controlling and diagnosing leptospirosis in the developing world

Soanandrasana Rahelinirina, Mark H. Moseley*, Kathryn J. Allan, Emmanuel Ramanohizakandrainy, Sati Ravaoarinoro, Minoarisoa Rajerison, Vincent Rakotoharinome, Sandra Telfer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


In developing countries, estimates of the prevalence and diversity of Leptospira infections in livestock, an important but neglected zoonotic pathogen and cause of livestock productivity loss, are lacking. In Madagascar, abattoir sampling of cattle and pigs demonstrated a prevalence of infection of 20% in cattle and 5% in pigs by real-time PCR. In cattle, amplification and sequencing of the Leptospira-specific lfb1 gene revealed novel genotypes, mixed infections of two or more Leptospira species and evidence for potential transmission between small mammals and cattle. Sequencing of the secY gene demonstrated genetic similarities between Leptospira detected in Madagascar and, as yet, uncultured Leptospira strains identified in Tanzania, Reunion and Brazil. Detection of Leptospira DNA in the same animal was more likely in urine samples or pooled samples from four kidney lobes relative to samples collected from a single kidney lobe, suggesting an effect of sampling method on detection. In pigs, no molecular typing of positive samples was possible. Further research into the epidemiology of livestock leptospirosis in developing countries is needed to inform efforts to reduce human infections and to improve livestock productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1707-1713
Number of pages7
Issue number14
Early online date26 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019



  • Africa
  • Madagascar
  • pathogen
  • spillover
  • spirochaete
  • Tanzania
  • veterinary
  • zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases

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