Risk based cross-species surveillance of Leptospira in domestic animals and humans in Bhutan
Leptospirosis is an acute bacterial infection caused by spirochetes belonging to different pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira, which has about 25 serogroups and 250 serovars. Leptospirosis is a worldwide reemerging zoonotic disease because of its increasing incidence in both developing and developed countries. It is highly prevalent in the Asia Pacific region and becoming an increasingly significant public health problem.
Rodents and domestic mammals, such as cattle, pigs, dogs, and wild animals serve as major reservoir hosts. Infected animals may excrete leptospires intermittently or regularly for months or years, or for their lifetime in the urine. Humans get infection as a result of direct or indirect exposure to the urine of carrier animals which gain entry into the blood stream via cuts, skin abrasions or mucous membranes.
Although many studies on Leptospirosis has been done in other countries that helped in formulation of prevention and control program, no detailed studies have been conducted in Bhutan. In humans, febrile cases of unknown origin have been increasingly reported to the hospital for treatment. Similarly, in animals, reduced conception rate, infertility and abortion in cattle are also increasingly reported in Bhutan, but no systematic studies have been conducted to rule out leptospiral infection. Therefore, we conducted a cross-species surveillance in domestic animals and humans with the following objectives:
1. to estimate the seroprevalence of Leptospirosis in cross-species domestic animals in Bhutan
2. to compare the seroprevalence in domestic animal population between tropical areas (south Bhutan), paddy cultivating interior areas of Bhutan and dairy cattle (e.g. dairy farmers group) in east Bhutan,
3. to determine rodent species as carriers of Leptospira in the study areas, and
4. to estimate the seroprevalence of Leptospirosis in febrible cases of humans presented to the medical hospital for treatment.
The findings of the study in animals is attached for information.