Serological evidence of leptospirosis in Panama and the Canal Zone has been reported on several occasions. Definitive evidence, however, has been lacking.
During October and November 1961, a small series of mammals from the Canal Zone was examined for evidence of infection with this organism. Following recommended procedure, leptospires were recovered from urine and kidney tissue of two cotton rats, Sigmodon hispidus. These isolates, identified as belonging to the Leptospira canicola serogroup, represent the first leptospires to be isolated and identified in this area of the world.