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Obiegala, Anna; Woll, Dietlinde; Karnath, Carolin; Silaghi, Cornelia; Schex, Susanne; Essbauer, Sandra; Pfeffer, Martin (2016): Prevalence and Genotype Allocation of Pathogenic Leptospira Species in Small Mammals from Various Habitat Types in Germany.
In: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(3), e0004501


Small mammals serve as most important reservoirs for Leptospira spp., the causative agents of Leptospirosis, which is one of the most neglected and widespread zoonotic diseases worldwide. The knowledge about Leptospira spp. occurring in small mammals from Germany is scarce. Thus, this study's objectives were to investigate the occurrence of Leptospira spp. and the inherent sequence types in small mammals from three different study sites: a forest in southern Germany (site B1);a National Park in south-eastern Germany (site B2) and a renaturalised area, in eastern Germany (site S) where small mammals were captured. DNA was extracted from kidneys of small mammals and tested for Leptospira spp. by real-time PCR. Positive samples were further analysed by duplex and conventional PCRs. For 14 positive samples, multi locus sequence typing (MLST) was performed. Altogether, 1213 small mammals were captured: 216 at site B1, 456 at site B2 and 541 at site S belonging to following species: Sorex (S.) araneus, S. coronatus, Apodemus (A.) flavicollis, Myodes glareolus, Microtus (Mi.) arvalis, Crocidura russula, Arvicola terrestris, A. agrarius, Mustela nivalis, Talpa europaea, and Mi. agrestis. DNA of Leptospira spp. was detected in 6% of all small mammals. At site B1, 25 small mammals (11.6%), at site B2, 15 small mammals (3.3%) and at site S, 33 small mammals (6.1%) were positive for Leptospira spp. Overall, 54 of the positive samples were further determined as L. kirschneri, nine as L. interrogans and four as L. borgpetersenii while five real-time PCR-positive samples could not be further determined by conventional PCR. MLST results revealed focal occurrence of L. interrogans and L. kirschneri sequence type (ST) 117 while L. kirschneri ST 110 was present in small mammals at all three sites. Further, this study provides evidence for a particular host association of L. borgpetersenii to mice of the genus Apodemus.