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Cibulski, Sabrina and Wollanke, Bettina (2016): Untersuchungen von wildlebenden Kleinsäugern und Wasserproben von Pferdebetrieben auf DNA pathogener Leptospiren mittels real-time PCR. In: Pferdeheilkunde, Vol. 32, No. 6: pp. 635-641

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Normally with horses suffering from the typical form of the ERU (equine recurrent Uveitis) a chronically intraocular leptospiral infection can be detected as the etiologic agent. Mice and other small mammals are mostly regarded as vectors of leptospires. Every year not only horses come down with ERU, but also human beings develop leptospirosis with - in single cases even deadly ending - courses. Most human infections are observed in warm and humid countries, but single cases or even infection of several men can be observed in Europe as well. Infection has been proved to be transmitted by urine of small mammals many years ago by leptospiral cultures, but there are hardly any data on actual infection rates of small mammals. Leptospires can survive for several weeks in humid and warm environments, so infections are supposed to be facilitated in summer times on humid pastures or with dringking thoughs on the pasture. Although the small mammals are still regarded as the main vectors, there are not only missing actual data concerning the prevalence of leptospires in the population of small mammals, but there exist no data on the prevalence of leptospires in small mammals or drinking water in riding stables or on stud farms. Besides, looking at older research works it has to be considered that nowadays there are a lot more and better possibilities in the laboratory diagnostic. For this reason in this study 299 small mammals of horse stables (rodents, but also insectivores) were examined for the existence of DNA from pathogen leptospires in Baden-Wurttemberg, Bayern, Hessen and Luxembourg by means of LipL32 real-time PCR. All animals had been cought by rodent control measures from the operators of the stables. If possible, an examination of the animals urine was made, too. In addition, according to the literature, for the first time in Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg, 87 water samples of lentic water and drinking throughs from the surrounding of equine stables have been taken and have been examinted by real-time PCR for DNA of pathogen Leptospires. Results were that 14% of the small mammals could be tested positive in the PCR for pathogen leptospires. Small mammals with positive PCR could be found in Baden- Wurttemberg, Bayern and Hessen as well as in Luxembourg. In comparison to the other small mammals families, voles were highly significantly 0,001) most often positive tested compared to other small mammals and thus turned out to be important vectors of DNA of pathogen leptospires. The amount of concerned affected animals varied regionally. The PCR as a diagnostic tool has been proved to be of value for the analysis of DNA of pathogen leptospires in the kidney tissues and urine. Collecting urine from wild living small mammals was difficult. It was noticed that cats provided the significantly best catch method to get urine from small mammals. Other methods (live catch traps or deathtraps) lead to an empty bladder in order that no urine could be collected. In 10% of the 87 water samples of lentic waters and drinking throughs, DNA of pathogen leptospires could be proved by means of PCR diagnostic. It was eye-catching that no water samples from Bayern were contaminated with leptospiral DNA, though this result did not turn out to be significant. As a result, not only urine of small mammals was proved to be a source of infection, but drinking water in the stables and on the pastures has to be considered as a source of infection for human beings and animals as well.

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