Multi-host pathogens are challenging to control and are responsible for some of the most important diseases of humans, livestock, and wildlife. Leptospira spp. are some of the most common multi-host pathogens and represent an important cause of zoonotic infections and livestock productivity loss in the developing world, where contact with wildlife species is common. Although there is increasing evidence that cattle in Africa harbour a broad diversity of Leptospira genotypes and serovars, little is known about the epidemiology of these pathogens in wild bovids, such as African buffaloes (Syncerus caffer). Using microscopic agglutination testing (MAT) on serum samples collected from free-ranging buffaloes (n = 98) captured in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP), South Africa, we demonstrated an overall seroprevalence of 21% with seropositivity almost exclusively limited to serovar Tarassovi (serogroup Tarassovi). Moreover, we found no evidence of seropositivity in unweaned calves and showed temporal-or herd-specific variation in exposure risk, and increased probability of seropositivity (OR = 5.44, 95% CI = 1.4–27) in female buffaloes. Together, these findings demonstrate that free-ranging African buffaloes are exposed to Leptospira spp. infections, providing insights into the epidemiology of an emerging Leptospira serovar in herds with an absence of any disease control and minimal management.
- Disease ecology
- Microscopic Agglutination Typing
- One Health