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Serologic and Molecular Studies of Leptospira and Leptospirosis among Rats in the Philippines

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  • Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan; Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines–Manila, Manila, the Philippines; National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba Institute of Science, Chiba, Japan
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Rats are known to be the most important reservoirs and transmission sources of leptospirosis. However, the status of leptospirosis in the Philippines regarding reservoirs and transmission remains unknown. A survey was conducted in Metro Manila and Laguna that analyzed samples obtained from 106 rats. Using the microscopic agglutination test, we found that 92% of rat serum samples were positive for anti-Leptospira antibodies; the most common infecting serovars were Manilae, Hebdomadis, and Losbanos. On the basis of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and gyrase B gene sequence analyses, four groups of rat kidney isolates were found: L. interrogans serovar Manilae, serovar Losbanos, and serogroup Grippotyphosa, and L. borgpetersenii serogroup Javanica. Most isolates were lethal after experimental infection of golden Syrian hamsters. Results showed that these four Leptospira serovars and serogroups are circulating among rats, and that these animals may be one of the possible transmission sources of leptospirosis in the Philippines.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Sharon Y. A. M. Villanueva, Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. E-mail: svillan@bact.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Financial support: This study was supported by a grant from the Special Coordination Funds on Science and Technology Agency of the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology of Japan. Sharon Y. A. M. Villanueva was supported by a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Government of Japan.

Authors' addresses: Sharon Y. A. M. Villanueva, Yasutake Yanagihara, and Shin-ichi Yoshida, Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 812-8582 Japan, E-mails: svillan@bact.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp, yanagihara@uv.tnc.ne.jp, and shin-ichi@bact.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp. Hirokazu Ezoe, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, E-mail: ezoe@biken.osaka-u.ac.jp. Rubelia A. Baterna, Lolita L. Cavinta, and Nina G. Gloriani, Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila, Ermita, Manila, 1000 the Philippines, E-mails: rabaterna@yahoo.com, cavinta@yahoo.com, and ninagloriani@yahoo.com. Maki Muto and Nobuo Koizumi, Department of Bacteriology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku, Tokyo, 162-8640 Japan, E-mails: mutomaki@nih.go.jp and nkoizumi@nih.go.jp. Takashi Fukui, Yoshihiro Okamoto, and Toshiyuki Masuzawa, Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba Institute of Science, Choshi, Chiba, 288-0025 Japan, E-mails: tfukui@cis.ac.jp, yokamoto@cis.ac.jp, and masuzawat@cis.ac.jp.

Reprint requests: Sharon Y. A. M. Villanueva, Department of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582 Japan, E-mail: svillan@bact.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp.

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