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Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances

Year: 2016  |  Volume: 11  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 258 - 262

A Serological Survey of Leptospira spp., Antibodies in Wild Raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Osaka, Japan

J. Saeki, H. Nakanishi, K. Masubuchi, M. Matsubayashi, M. Furuya, H. Tani and K. Sasai


Background and objective: Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms with an acute febrile disease in humans and animals. Recently, in Japan, there has been an increase in the number of feral raccoons (Procyon lotor) and they have been implicated as a source of zoonotic pathogens, including Leptospira spp. However, there are only a few reports on the prevalence of Leptospira spp. in wild animals, although 7 serovars of Leptospira spp. have been reported. The objective of this study was to examine seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. in raccoons. Methodology: The seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. antibodies was determined in 40 raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Osaka, Japan, from April-June, 2011. Leptospira spp., antibodies were detected in 23 raccoons (57.5%) using the Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT). Antibodies against Leptospira interrogans serovar hebdomadis were most frequently detected (30.0%), followed by those against Leptospira interrogans serovar autumnalis (17.5%), Leptospira kirschneri serovar grippothyphosa (15.0%), Leptospira interrogans serovar copenhageni (7.5%) and Leptospira interrogans serovar australis (2.5%). Results: Leptospira interrogans serovars hebdomadis and australis were detected in all areas examined in Osaka. Leptospira kirschneri serovar grippothyphosa and Leptospira interrogans serovar copenhageni were detected only in animals from Southern Osaka, suggesting a regional distribution. Raccoons are environmentally adaptable omnivores and are expanding their range into urban areas and forests in Japan. Conclusion: Therefore, it is important to elucidate the potential risks that they may pose to public health by conducting surveys throughout Japan for zoonotic pathogens, such as Leptospira spp. that they may carry.

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