Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Leptospira agglutination tests of 29,317 human sera submitted to the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory for brucella serology during 1958–1959 revealed 0.5 percent positive for leptospirosis at titers of 1:20 or higher. Field investigation of suspect acute and recent cases resulted in confirmation of 82 leptospiral infections. A total of 42 sporadic infections was identified among live-stock farmers, packing-plant workers and veterinarians; a local epidemic of 40 cases was confirmed among individuals exposed to contaminated streams. Serologic surveillance of patients revealed initial heterologous serotype response in many instances; however, the homologous serotype immune reaction eventually predominated and persisted. was incriminated as the infecting leptospira serotype in all but two cases; one patient was infected with following contamination of lacerations with mud polluted with rat dejecta, and one case defied specific serotype definition. was isolated from the urine of 2 of 52 human cases and 5 of 88 bovine contacts.

Laboratory procedures, field investigational methods and clinical characteristics are described. Factors which may be responsible for the under-recognition of human leptospirosis are suggested.


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