Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Epidemiological investigation of Leptospira spp. in a dairy farming enterprise after the occurrence of three human leptospirosis cases.

Abstract

An epidemiological investigation was conducted in an unvaccinated dairy farming enterprise in which three workers on one of the milking herds (Herd 1) were diagnosed with leptospirosis due to serovars Hardjo (H) (n=2) and Pomona (P) (n=1) between January and March 2015. Blood and urine samples were collected from milking cows in Herd 1 (N=230) and Herd 2 (N=400), rising one- (R1, N=125) and rising two-year-old (R2, N=130) replacement heifers, and four pigs associated with Herd 1, in March 2015. Sera were tested using the MAT for serovars H, P, Copenhageni (C), Ballum (B) and Tarassovi (T), and urine samples were tested by qPCR. Seventy-five per cent of 109 cows in Herd 1 and 36% of 121 in Herd 2 were seropositive (≥48), predominantly to H and P, and 23% of 74 cows in Herd 1 and 1% of 90 cows in Herd 2 were qPCR positive. Fifty-five per cent of 42 R2 heifers were seropositive to T. No R1 and 17% of 42 R2 heifers were qPCR positive. Subsequently, all cattle were vaccinated for H and P, and Herds 1 and 2 were given amoxicillin. After the booster vaccination, 7% of 91 in Herd 1, 2% of 82 in Herd 2 and 11% of 38 R1 heifers (sampled as R2) were PCR positive. After the amoxicillin treatment, no cows in Herd 1 and 5% of 62 cows in Herd 2 were urine PCR positive. Calves and pigs were seropositive to H, P, C and B. Vaccination and antibiotic treatment appeared effective in reducing the risk of exposure of workers to vaccine serovars. However, evidence of non-vaccine serovars indicated that workers likely remain at risk of exposure to Leptospira.