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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395937

Research Project: Intervention Strategies for Spirochete Diseases

Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research

Title: A Global One health perspective on leptospirosis in humans and animals

item SYKES, JANE - University Of California, Davis
item HAAKE, DAVID - University Of California (UCLA)
item GAMAGE, CHANDIKA - University Of Peradeniya
item MILLS, W. ZACH - Us Army Research
item Nally, Jarlath

Submitted to: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/25/2022
Publication Date: 7/25/2022
Citation: Sykes, J.E., Haake, D.A., Gamage, C.D., Mills, W., Nally, J.E. 2022. A Global One Health Perspective on Leptospirosis in Humans and Animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 260(13). p. 1589-1596.

Interpretive Summary: This is a review manuscript that describes the evolution and use of state-of-the art molecular tools, in the One Health framework, for accurate epidemiological studies on the global zoonotic disease leptospirosis.

Technical Abstract: Leptospirosis is a quintessential One Health disease of humans and animals caused by pathogenic spirochetes of the genus Leptospira. Intra- and interspecies transmission is dependent on 1) reservoir host animals in which organisms replicate and are shed in urine over long periods of time; 2) the persistence of spirochetes in the environment; and 3) subsequent human-animal environmental interactions. The combination of increased flooding events due to climate change, changes in human-animal-environmental interactions as a result of the pandemic that favor a rise in the incidence of leptospirosis, and under-recognition of leptospirosis because of non-specific clinical signs and severe signs that resemble COVID-19 represents a ‘perfect storm’ for resurgence of leptospirosis in people and domestic animals. Although often considered a disease that occurs in warm, humid climates with high annual rainfall, pathogenic Leptospira spp. have recently been associated with disease in animals and humans that reside in semi-arid regions like the southwestern USA, and has impacted humans that have a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds. Therefore, it is critical that physicians, veterinarians, and public health experts maintain a high index of suspicion for the disease regardless of geographic and socioeconomic circumstances and work together to understand outbreaks and implement appropriate control measures. Over the last decade, major strides have made in our understanding of the disease because of improvements in diagnostic tests, molecular epidemiologic tools, educational efforts on preventive measures, and vaccines. These novel approaches are highlighted in the companion Currents in One Health by Sykes et al, AJVR, September 2022.