Original Research

Seroprevalence of leptospirosis in dogs in urban Harare and selected rural communities in Zimbabwe

Solomon Dhliwayo, Gift Matope, Lisa Marabini, Keith Dutlow, Davis M. Pfukenyi
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 79, No 1 | a447 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v79i1.447 | © 2012 Solomon Dhliwayo, Gift Matope, Lisa Marabini, Keith Dutlow, Davis M. Pfukenyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 05 June 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

About the author(s)

Solomon Dhliwayo, Department of Clinical Veterinary Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Gift Matope, Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Lisa Marabini, AWARE Trust Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd., Harare, Zimbabwe
Keith Dutlow, AWARE Trust Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd., Harare, Zimbabwe
Davis M. Pfukenyi, Department of Clinical Veterinary Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe


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Abstract

A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate seroprevalence of canine leptospirosis in urban Harare and five selected rural communities in Zimbabwe and to assess public awareness of the disease. Sera from randomly selected dogs were tested for antibodies to the serovars Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae and Pomona of Leptospira interrogans using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Clinical chemistry was performed on all seropositive and selected seronegative sera to screen for hepatic and renal insufficiency. A questionnaire- based survey was conducted in Harare to assess dog owners’ awareness of leptospirosis and other zoonoses. Overall, 15.6% of sera samples tested (39 out of 250; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 11.0% – 20.2%) were positive for leptospiral antibodies. A significantly higher (p < 0.05) seroprevalence was recorded in urban dogs than in rural dogs (25% vs. 11.2%). No significant difference in seroprevalence was observed amongst dogs from different rural communities or between sexes of dogs. There was a significant association between seropositivity and hepatic and/or renal insufficiency (p < 0.01), with dogs having hepatic and/or renal insufficiency being approximately twice as likely to be seropositive (relative risk = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.3–3.0). Of the dog owners, 78.8% (119/151) were aware of zoonoses. Except for rabies (92.4%), awareness of leptospirosis (5.0%) and other zoonoses amongst these owners was low. This study showed that leptospirosis was present and represented a risk to dogs from urban Harare and the selected rural communities in Zimbabwe. Availing training programmes for dog owners would be beneficial in improving disease control and reducing the public health risk of pet zoonoses.

Keywords

Harare; leptosirosis; seroprevalence; urban and rural communities; Zimbabwe

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Crossref Citations

1. Leptospira interrogansat the Human-Wildlife Interface in Northern Botswana: A Newly Identified Public Health Threat
S. E. Jobbins, C. E. Sanderson, K. A. Alexander
Zoonoses and Public Health  vol: 61  issue: 2  first page: 113  year: 2014  
doi: 10.1111/zph.12052