Volume 12, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A serological survey for leptospirosis in domestic animals was conducted in a coastal tropical area and an adjacent plateau and mountainous area located in the southwest sector of Guatemala. Sera from a total of 122 cattle, 120 swine, 86 horses, 77 dogs, 90 sheep and 20 goats were tested for the presence of agglutinins employing screening antigens of 18 different serotypes. The percentages of significant positive reactions in the various species were as follows: cattle, 41.8; swine, 27.5; horses, 4.6; dogs, 1.3; goats, 10.0. All of the sheep tested were negative. With few exceptions the reactions in cattle were elicited with screening antigens in the group, whereas most of the reactions in the other livestock species were obtained with and/or serotypes. The single positive dog had a titer against serotype. Generally there was a higher prevalence of positive animals in the mountainous region than in the coastal region. Significant serological titers against serotype were also disclosed in two of 59 normal human beings in the study area who were engaged in agricultural work or in the handling of meat, and in one of 23 hospitalized patients with undiagnosed febrile diseases.

These findings not only provided unequivocal evidence of the presence of leptospirosis in Guatemala but of its widespread occurrence in cattle and swine. The difference in antibody types found in cattle and swine may reflect animal husbandry practices.


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