Chapter 55 : Leptospira

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The genus is comprised of spiral-shaped bacteria with hooked ends. This genus, along with the genera and , makes up the family within the order and class of the proposed phylum . The genus was formerly divided into two species: , comprising all pathogenic strains, and , containing the saprophytic strains isolated from the environment. The molecularly based taxonomy of necessitates the identification of isolates to both the species and serovar levels. Species identification is most practically done by sequence analysis, using (16s rRNA), B, B, or Y. The definitive serologic investigation in leptospirosis remains the microscopic agglutination test (MAT), in which patients sera are reacted with live or killed antigen suspensions of leptospiral serovars. Leptospires are susceptible to many antimicrobial agents, including β-lactams, macrolides, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, and streptomycin. Despite recent advances in molecular detection and characterization of leptospires and in the development of rapid serologic tests, there are still relatively few laboratories throughout the world with the appropriate capabilities for diagnostics.

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55

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Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism
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Image of FIGURE 1

Phylogenetic relationships based on (16S rRNA gene) sequences between the genera of the The scale bar represents a 2% difference in sequence.

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55
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Image of FIGURE 2

Scanning electron micrograph of leptospiral cells bound to a 0.2-µm-pore-size filter. Magnification, approximately ×3,500. Source: Public Health Image Library.

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55
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Generic image for table

Serogroups and selected serovars of sensu lato

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55
Generic image for table

Genospecies of

These species comprise the clade of pathogenic species.

Currently only nonpathogenic strains of these species are known.

These species comprise the clade of species intermediate between the pathogenic and nonpathogenic clades ( Fig. 1 ).

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55
Generic image for table

Leptospiral serovars found in multiple species

Based on data reported by Brenner et al. ( ) and by Feresu et al. ( ).

Citation: Levett P. 2011. Leptospira, p 916-923. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch55

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