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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382283

Research Project: Characterization of the Pathogenesis and Antigen Expression in Spirochete Diseases

Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research

Title: Exposure and Carriage of Pathogenic Leptospira in Livestock in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Author
item CRANFORD, HANNAH - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item TAYLOR, MARISSA - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item BROWNE, A. SPRINGER - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item Alt, David
item ANDERSON, TAMMY - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item HAMMOND, CAMILA - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Hornsby, Richard
item LECOUNT, KAREN - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item SCHLATER, LINDA - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item STUBER, TOD - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item DEWILDE, LEAH - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item BURKE-FRANCE, VALICIA - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item ELLIS, ESTHER - University Of Virgin Islands, St Croix
item Nally, Jarlath
item BRADFORD, BETHANY - Us Virgin Islands Department Of Agriculture

Submitted to: Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2021
Publication Date: 5/24/2021
Citation: Cranford, H.M., Taylor, M., Browne, A., Alt, D.P., Anderson, T., Hammond, C., Hornsby, R.L., Lecount, K., Schlater, L., Stuber, T., DeWilde, L., Burke-France, V.J., Ellis, E.M., Nally, J.E. 2021. Exposure and carriage of pathogenic Leptospira in livestock in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 6(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed6020085.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed6020085

Interpretive Summary: Leptospirosis is a global zoonotic disease caused by a unique group of bacteria that belong to the genus Leptospira. Disease transmission is maintained by persistently infected domestic and wild animals which shed the bacteria in their urine. Domestic animals also suffer acute disease. In this study, serum and urine samples were collected cattle, goats, pigs and sheep in an abattoir facility in the U.S. Virgin Islands and evaluated for exposure to, and carriage of, pathogenic Leptospira. Results confirm that more than 37 percent of domestic animals are exposed to pathogenic leptospires. In addition, 4 percent of domestic animals are actively shedding leptospires into the environment. In two cases, the species of Leptospira identified was L. interrogans.

Technical Abstract: From 2019–2020, the Virgin Islands Department of Health (VIDOH) investigated potential animal reservoirs of Leptospira spp., the pathogenic bacteria that cause leptospirosis. We examined Leptospira exposure and carriage in livestock on the island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands (USVI). We utilized the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) to evaluate the sera, and the fluorescent antibody test (FAT), real time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR), and bacterial culture to evaluate urine specimens from livestock (n = 126): 28 cattle, 19 goats, 46 pigs, and 33 sheep. Seropositivity was 37.6% (47/125) with agglutinating antibodies to the following serogroups identified: Australis, Djasiman, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Ballum, Sejroe, Cynopteri, Autumnalis, Hebdomadis, Pomona, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, and Pyrogenes. Urine from 4 animals (4.0%, 4/101) was positive by rt-PCR for lipL32: 2 sheep, 1 goat, and 1 bull. Sequencing of secY amplicons identified L. interrogans in 1 sheep and 1 bull. Livestock in USVI harbor pathogenic Leptospira bacteria and could play a role in the zoonotic cycle of leptospirosis.