High Prevalence of Leptospira spp. in Rodents in an Urban Setting in Madagascar

Soanandrasana Rahelinirina Plague Unit, WHO Collaborating Center, Institut Pasteur, Antananarivo, Madagascar;

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Pascale Bourhy Unité de Biologie des Spirochètes, National Reference Centre for Leptospirosis, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France;

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Fehivola Andriamiaramanana Plague Unit, WHO Collaborating Center, Institut Pasteur, Antananarivo, Madagascar;

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Benoit Garin Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Les Abymes, Guadeloupe

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Minoarisoa Rajerison Plague Unit, WHO Collaborating Center, Institut Pasteur, Antananarivo, Madagascar;

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Leptospirosis is a neglected zoonotic bacterial disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira spp. Only limited studies have been conducted on the presence of Leptospira spp. in rats in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. We assessed Leptospira prevalence in small mammals in urban areas of Antananarivo where sanitation is inadequate and there is risk of flooding during the rainy season. We captured rodents and shrews at two sites and examined kidney samples from 114 animals using culture and a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay specific to pathogenic Leptospira spp. We identified 23 positive samples containing Leptospira interrogans and Leptospira borgpetersenii, with a high prevalence in Rattus norvegicus (44.9%). Our results indicate that small mammals, in particular R. norvegicus, present a major public health risk for acquiring leptospirosis in Antananarivo.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Soanandrasana Rahelinirina, Plague Unit, WHO Collaborating Center, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, BP 1274 Ambatofotsikely, Antananarivo, Madagascar. E-mail: raheli@pasteur.mg

Financial support: This work is financially supported by Institut Pasteur de Madagascar.

Authors’ addresses: Soanandrasana Rahelinirina, Fehivola Andriamiaramanana, and Minoarisoa Rajerison, Plague Unit, WHO Collaborating Center, Institut Pasteur, Antananarivo, Madagascar, E-mails: raheli@pasteur.mg, fehivola@pasteur.mg, and mino@pasteur.mg. Pascale Bourhy, Unité de Biologie des Spirochètes, National Reference Centre for Leptospirosis, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, E-mail: pascale.bourhy@pasteur.fr. Benoit Garin, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Les Abymes, Guadeloupe, E-mail: benoitgarin@gmail.com.

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