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Chapter 3.14 : Leptospira Culture
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by spirochetes of the genus Leptospira. Pathogenic leptospires are maintained in nature by chronic renal infection of carrier mammals, which excrete the organism in their urine ( 1 ). Human infection is acquired by contact of mucous membranes or broken skin with infected animal tissues or body fluids or with water, damp soil, or sewage contaminated with the urine of infected animals ( 2 ). The genus Leptospira was previously divided into two species, Leptospira interrogans, comprising all pathogenic strains, and L. biflexa, containing saprophytic strains isolated from water; the two species were differentiated by a number of phenotypic tests ( 1 ).