Volume 85, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Third generation cephalosporins are commonly used in the treatment of leptospirosis. The efficacy of first generation cephalosporins has been less well-studied. Susceptibility testing of 13 strains (11 serovars) to cefazolin and cephalexin was conducted using broth microdilution. Median minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) for cefazolin and cephalexin ranged from < 0.016 to 2 μg/mL (MIC = 0.5 μg/mL) and from 1 to 8 μg/mL (MIC = 8 μg/mL), respectively. Efficacy of cefazolin and cephalexin in an acute lethal hamster model of leptospirosis was studied. Survival rates for cefazolin were 80%, 100%, and 100%, and survival rates for cephalexin were 50%, 80%, and 100% (treated with 5, 25, and 50 mg/kg per day for 5 days, respectively). Each treatment group showed improved survival compared with no treatment ( < 0.01), and none of the therapies, regardless of dose, was statistically significantly different than doxycycline. These results support a potential role for first generation cephalosporins as alternative therapies for leptospirosis.


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  • Received : 03 Jun 2011
  • Accepted : 24 Jun 2011
  • Published online : 01 Nov 2011

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