Chapter 9 : Leptospirosis

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Leptospirosis, Page 1 of 2

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In livestock, the main sources of economic loss caused by leptospirosis include abortions, stillbirths, birth of weak neonates, animal deaths, loss of milk production, and costs of veterinary care, treatment, and vaccines. Animals that have been exposed to or infected with are not eligible for import or export because of the risk of transmission of the disease. Perhaps the most confusing facet of leptospirosis is the classification and nomenclature of the causative agent. Bacteriologists recognized early on that there were clinically and epidemiologically distinct types of leptospirosis. Clinicians recognized that there were different types of leptospirosis and that it was important to identify the type of leptospire, and therefore the likely animal reservoir, to control outbreaks of leptospirosis in their patients. In addition, investigators often study one particular serovar in one particular host (often not the natural host), and it is difficult to compare results between studies. However, several pathogenic mechanisms have been proposed to be important in the development of leptospirosis, including bacterial motility and adhesion, bacterial toxins, persistence of infection, and immune-mediated tissue damage. LPS is postulated to be important in the development of the endothelial damage and platelet aggregation that lead to thrombocytopenia in acute leptospirosis. The difficulties in recognition and diagnosis of this infectious disease are legendary, and the availability of quality diagnostic support is crucial. Physicians, veterinarians, and public health authorities must work closely together to recognize, document, and control this important zoonotic disease.

Citation: Bolin C. 2000. Leptospirosis, p 185-200. In Brown C, Bolin C (ed), Emerging Diseases of Animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818050.ch9

Key Concept Ranking

Outer Membrane Proteins
Infectious Diseases
Zoonotic Diseases
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Table 1

Old and new names and the most common maintenance hosts of the pathogenic leptospires that are common in the United States and Canada

Citation: Bolin C. 2000. Leptospirosis, p 185-200. In Brown C, Bolin C (ed), Emerging Diseases of Animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818050.ch9
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Table 2

Most common serovars isolated from livestock and companion animal species

Citation: Bolin C. 2000. Leptospirosis, p 185-200. In Brown C, Bolin C (ed), Emerging Diseases of Animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818050.ch9
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Table 3

Causes of tissue damage in acute and chronic leptospirosis

Citation: Bolin C. 2000. Leptospirosis, p 185-200. In Brown C, Bolin C (ed), Emerging Diseases of Animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818050.ch9

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