Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Zoonoses/veterinary

Endemicity of leptospirosis in domestic and wild animal species from Reunion Island (Indian Ocean)

A. DESVARSa1a2a3 c1, F. NAZEa3, A. BENNEVEAUa4, E. CARDINALEa1a2 and A. MICHAULTa3

a1 UMR CMAEE, Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), Sainte-Clotilde, Reunion Island, France

a2 Centre Régional de Recherche et de Veille sur les Maladies Emergentes de l'Océan Indien (CRVOI), Sainte-Clotilde, Reunion Island, France

a3 Laboratoire de Bactériologie-Parasitologie-Virologie-Hygiène, Groupe Hospitalier Sud Réunion (GHSR), Centre Hospitalier Régional (CHR), Saint-Pierre, Reunion Island, France

a4 UR HortSys, CIRAD, Saint-Pierre, Reunion Island, France

SUMMARY

Leptospirosis is the major infectious disease on Reunion Island but little is known about the animal reservoir. We conducted a wide-ranging survey that included samples from 574 animals belonging to 12 species. The seroprevalence and prevalence of renal carriage varied greatly depending on the species, with the highest seroprevalence (79·5%) found in Norway rats, and the lowest (13·2%) in tenrecs. The renal carriage rate ranged from 84·6% in mice to 0% in tenrecs. Our results suggest that rodents are the most important reservoirs of leptospirosis on Reunion Island. The epidemiological role that animals play in human infection is discussed. For the first time, we quantified the renal concentration of leptospires in ten naturally infected mammals. The history of Reunion Island colonization probably explains why the circulating Leptospira serogroups were similar to those found in Europe. Our study provides evidence that will help implement preventive measures against this zoonosis.

(Received February 17 2012)

(Revised July 10 2012)

(Accepted August 16 2012)

(Online publication September 24 2012)

Key words

  • Epidemiology;
  • leptospirosis;
  • quantitative PCR;
  • Reunion Island;
  • zoonosis

Correspondence

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr A. Desvars, CIRAD Station La Bretagne, BP 20, 97408 Saint-Denis Messageries, Cedex 9, France. (Email: amel.desvars@gmail.com)

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