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Sprißler, Fabienne; Jonwattanapisan, Prapaporn; Luengyosluechakul, Supol; Pusoonthornthum, Rosama; Prapasarakul, Nuvee; Kurilung, Alongkorn; Goris, Marga; Ahmed, Ahmed; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Bergmann, Michèle; Dorsch, Roswitha; Klaasen, Henricus L.B.M.; Hartmann, Katrin (23. December 2018): Leptospira infection and shedding in cats in Thailand. In: Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
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Abstract

In Thailand, leptospirosis is considered an emerging disease in humans and animals. Many species can shed pathogenic Leptospira, including domestic cats (felis catus), which might be able to pose a risk to humans. There are no studies on Leptospira infections in cats in Thailand, but in other countries, it was demonstrated that cats can shed pathogenic Leptospira with high prevalences. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether outdoor cats in Thailand shed pathogenic Leptospira in their urine, and to determine antibody prevalence and risk factors associated with Leptospira infection. Two hundred and sixty outdoor cats were prospectively recruited. Urine samples were tested by real-time PCR targeting the lipL32 gene of pathogenic Leptospira. Urine was additionally cultured for 6 months in Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson- Harris medium to grow Leptospira. Antibodies against 24 serovars (Australis, Bratislava, Autumnalis, Rachmati, Ballum, Bataviae, Paidjan, Broomi, Canicola, Anhoa, Celledoni, Cynopteri, Djasiman, Grippotyphosa, Copenhageni, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Coxi, Khorat, Pomona, Pyrogenes, Haemolytica, Saxkoebing, Sejroe, Patoc) belonging to 16 serogroups were determined using microscopic agglutination tests. Risk factors were analysed by Fisher's exact test. Urine samples of 2/260 cats (0.8%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.1%-2.8%) were PCRpositive, but none of the 260 urine samples was culture-positive. Leptospira antibodies were detected in 14/260 cats (5.4%; 95% CI: 3.0%-8.6%) with titers ranging from 1:20 to 1:160 (serovars: Autumnalis, Anhoa, Celledoni, Djasiman, Copenhageni, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Patoc). Cats aged ≥ 4 years were significantly more often infected with Leptospira than younger cats. No other significant risk factors were found. In conclusion, outdoor cats in Thailand can shed DNA and, possibly, viable, pathogenic Leptospira in their urine, although at a much lower prevalence than expected when compared to countries with similar climate. Thus, cats can be a potential source of infection for people. Further studies are needed to determine the role of cats in transmitting this zoonotic disease in Thailand.