Molecular Detection and Typing of Pathogenic Leptospira in Febrile Patients and Phylogenetic Comparison with Leptospira Detected among Animals in Tanzania.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Molecular data are required to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of leptospirosis in Africa and to identify sources of human infection. We applied molecular methods to identify the infecting Leptospira species and genotypes among patients hospitalized with fever in Tanzania and compared these with Leptospira genotypes detected among animals in Tanzania to infer potential sources of human infection. We performed lipL32 real-time PCR to detect the presence of pathogenic Leptospira in acute-phase plasma, serum, and urine samples obtained from study participants with serologically confirmed leptospirosis and participants who had died with febrile illness. Leptospira blood culture was also performed. In positive specimens, we performed species-specific PCR and compared participant Leptospira secY sequences with Leptospira reference sequences and sequences previously obtained from animals in Tanzania. We detected Leptospira DNA in four (3.6%) of 111 participant blood samples. We detected Leptospira borgpetersenii (one participant, 25.0%), Leptospira interrogans (one participant, 25.0%), and Leptospira kirschneri (one participant, 25.0%) (one [25%] undetermined). Phylogenetic comparison of secY sequence from the L. borgpetersenii and L. kirschneri genotypes detected from participants was closely related to but distinct from genotypes detected among local livestock species. Our results indicate that a diverse range of Leptospira species is causing human infection. Although our analysis suggests a close relationship between Leptospira genotypes found in people and livestock, continued efforts are needed to obtain more Leptospira genetic material from human leptospirosis cases to help prioritize Leptospira species and genotypes for control.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Allan, KJ; Maze, MJ; Galloway, RL; Rubach, MP; Biggs, HM; Halliday, JEB; Cleaveland, S; Saganda, W; Lwezaula, BF; Kazwala, RR; Mmbaga, BT; Maro, VP; Crump, JA

Published Date

  • October 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 103 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1427 - 1434

PubMed ID

  • 32748767

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7543812

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-1645

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0703


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States