Objective—To assess patterns of seroreactivity to Leptospira serovars in veterinary professional staff and dog owners exposed to dogs with acute leptospirosis and to contrast these patterns in people with those observed in dogs.
Sample Population—Human subjects consisted of 91 people (50 veterinarians, 19 technical staff, 9 administrative personnel, and 13 dog owners) exposed to dogs with leptospirosis. Canine subjects consisted of 52 dogs with naturally occurring leptospirosis admitted to the University of Bern Vetsuisse Faculty Small Animal Clinic in 2007 and 2008.
Procedures—People were tested for seroreactivity to regionally prevalent Leptospira serovars by use of a complement fixation test. A questionnaire designed to identify risk factors associated with seropositivity was used to collect demographic information from each study participant. Dogs were tested for seroreactivity to Leptospira serovars by use of a microscopic agglutination test.
Results—On the basis of microscopic agglutination test results, infected dogs were seropositive for antibodies against Leptospira serovars as follows (in descending order): Bratislava (43/52 [83%]), Australis (43/52 [83%]), Grippotyphosa (18/52 [35%]), Pomona (12/52 [23%]), Autumnalis (6/52 [12%]), Icterohemorrhagiae (4/52 [8%]), Tarassovi (2/52 [4%]), and Canicola (1/52 [2%]). All 91 people were seronegative for antibodies against Leptospira serovars. Therefore, statistical evaluation of risk factors and comparison of patterns of seroreactivity to Leptospira serovars between human and canine subjects were limited to theoretical risks.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Seroreactivity to Leptospira serovars among veterinary staff adhering to standard hygiene protocols and pet owners exposed to dogs with acute leptospirosis was uncommon.