Submitted to: Emerging Diseases Veterinary Medicine Agriculture Human Health Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Leptospirosis is an important zoonotic disease of domestic animals and wildlife caused by infection with Leptospira. Leptospirosis is reemerging as an important disease of dogs in the United States and the veterinary and public health consequences of this zoonotic infection are being recognized. Major outbreaks of human leptospirosis have received considerable press attention including outbreaks in Nicaragua in 1995, and Ecuador and Illinois in 1998. These epidemics were associated with flooding or periods of significant rainfall. These outbreaks have raised the awareness of public health authorities to the importance of this disease, but the disease remains an endemic disease of wildlife, domestic animals, livestock, and human beings in much of the world. Bovine tuberculosis is now limited to a small number of cattle herds in the United States and eradication of the disease from the national cattle herd is within sight. Recent events, including importation of large numbers of dairy steers from Mexico and the persistent infection established in some large dairy herds in Texas have been troublesome for eradication efforts. Another challenge to eradication is the discovery of a large focus of Mycobacterium bovis in wild, white-tailed deer in a six-county region of northeastern Michigan. Three herds of beef cattle also have been identified as infected with M. bovis within the six-county area. Molecular epidemiologic evidence indicates that the cattle were infected with the same strain of M. bovis that was isolated from the wildlife. New strategies must be developed to control the infection in deer and to minimize the potential for transmission of M. bovis to cattle.