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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399082

Research Project: Intervention Strategies for Spirochete Diseases

Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research

Title: Isolation of Leptospira kirschneri Serovar Grippotyphosa from a Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) after Antimicrobial Therapy: Case Report

item LECOUNT, K. - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item FOX, K. - Ft Wayne Children'S Zoo
item ANDERSON, T. - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Bayles, Darrell
item STUBER, T. - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item SCHLATER, L. - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Nally, Jarlath

Submitted to: Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/28/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Leptospirosis is a global zoonotic disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality in human and animal populations. Domestic and wildlife mammals act as reservoir hosts of infection. They are typically asymptomatic and can excrete leptospires via urine into the environment to maintain disease transmission to incidental hosts. Clinical presentation in incidental hosts can range from a mild fever to severe fulminant lethal infection. When acute leptospirosis in animal and human patients is diagnosed in time, treatment with antibiotics often results in clinical resolution. However, clinical resolution does not guarantee cessation of shedding of leptospires in urine. In this work we diagnosed leptospirosis in a Red Panda and report the clinical presentation. Treatment with antibiotics resulted in clinical resolution. However, continued excretion of leptospires were detected by culture of urine after treatment, highlighting the risk of infection to animal handlers and other animal populations. Identification and characterization of the recovered isolate provides guidance on future diagnostic and vaccine strategies associated with zoo animals.

Technical Abstract: A one-year-old female red panda started showing symptoms of illness, including lethargy, anorexia, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting, shortly after transfer to a new zoo. Serum was tested for leptospirosis using the microscopic agglutination test (MAT), and a titer of 1:25,600 to serogroup Grippotyphosa was detected. Antimicrobial treatment with doxycycline was initiated; after completion of treatment and resolution of clinical symptoms, a urine sample was collected to ensure clearance of leptospires and cessation of urinary shedding prior to co-housing with other red pandas. A repeat serum sample taken 13 days later had a lower titer of 1:6,400 to serogroup Grippotyphosa. A sample of the animal’s urine was cultured in HAN media and was culture positive for Leptospira. The recovered isolate was completely characterized by whole genome sequencing and serotyping with reference antisera, and the isolate was classified as Leptospira kirschneri serogroup Grippotyphosa serovar Grippotyphosa strain RedPanda1.