Blanca Lilia Gabriel Vejar, David Itzcoatl Marti­nez Herrera, Dinora Vázquez Luna, José Alfredo Villagómez Cortés, Otto Raúl Leyva Ovalle, Jorge Isaac Torres Barranca, Patricia Melendez Valadez


Background. Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonosis caused by pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira that affects mainly reproductive performance in sheep. Objective. To identify the seroprevalence of Leptospira spp., associated serogroups, and possible risk factors in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Methodology. Blood samples were collected from 405 sheep in 55 farms located in 13 municipalities distributed along three ovine-producing regions in the state. Serological diagnosis was made by Microscopic Agglutination Technique (MAT). The prevalence and its confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using Vassarstats software, the Odds Ratio (OR) values were estimated with WinEpiscope. Results. An overall seroprevalence of 53.83% (95%CI:48.84-58.75), per municipality of 100% (95%CI :71.66-100) and per flock of 92.73% (95%CI: 81.58-97.65) were noted. The highest prevalence by region was 58.82% (95%CI:%:50.57-66.62) for Los Tuxtlas (p= 0.218) and per municipality 86.36% (95%CI:71.95-94.33) for Ángel R. Cabada. The predominant serogroup was Hardjo (45.93%; 95%CI:41.02-50.92). By age, the highest values were 55.93% (95%CI:48.29-63.31) in the group of 19-36 months. The main recognized risk factors were region and municipality. Los Tuxtlas Region (OR =1.92; 95%CI:1.08-3.43) and the municipalities of Ángel R. Cabada (OR=15.5; 95%CI:5.1-47.2), Ayahualulco (OR=10.1; 95%CI :3.6-28.7), and Coatzintla (OR=6.1; 95%CI: 30.3 – 95.0). Implications. This study explores the presence of antibodies against Leptospira spp. in sheep, its associated serogroups and risk factors in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. This is this first report on the presence and relevance of this infection in sheep of this region. The role of sheep as a maintenance host for Leptospira spp. in endemic areas is stressed. Conclusions. The study concludes that Leptospira spp. in sheep has an overall seroprevalence of 53.83% in the state of Veracruz, Mexico and several serogroups present.


Leptospira spp, microaglutination; sheep; cross-sectional study; zoonosis

Full Text:



Adler, B., 2015. History of Leptospirosis and Leptospira. In: Adler B., ed. Leptospira and Leptospirosis. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 1-9.

Almeida, DS, Paz, L.N., de Oliveira D.S., Silva, D.N., Ristow, P., Hamond, C., Costa, F., Portela, R.W., Estrela-Lima, A. and Pinna, M.H., 2019. Investigation of chronic infection by Leptospira spp. in asymptomatic sheep slaughtered in slaughterhouse. PLoS One, 14(5), e0217391. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217391

Ansdell, V., 2017. Chapter 23 - Leptospirosis. In: Sanford, C.A., Pottinger, P.S., and Jong, E.C., eds. The Travel and Tropical Medicine Manual (Fifth Edition). Elsevier. pp. 336-344.

Arteaga-Troncoso, G., Jiménez-Estrada, J.M., Montes De Oca-Jimenez, R., López-Hurtado, M., Luna-Alvarez, M., Hernandez-Andrade, L., Moreno-Alfaro, A., Galan-Herrera, J.F., and Guerra-Infante, F.M., 2015. Seroprevalence and risk factors associated with within-flock transmission of Leptospira interrogans in transhumant farming systems in Mexico. Epidemiology and Infection, 143(13), pp. 2894-2902. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268814003549

Azhari, N.N., Ramli, S.N.A., Joseph, N., Philip, N., Mustapha, N.F., Ishak, S.N., Mohd-Taib, F.S., Nor, S.M., Yusof, M.A., Sah, S.A.M., Desa, M.N.B.M., Bashiru, G., Zeppelini, C.G., Costa, F., Sekawi, Z. and Neela, V.K., 2018. Molecular characterization of pathogenic Leptospira sp. in small mammals captured from the human leptospirosis suspected areas of Selangor state, Malaysia. Acta Tropica, 188, pp. 68-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2018.08.020

Balamurugan, V., Alamuri, A., Kumar, K.V., Varghese, B., Govindaraj, G,, Hemadri, D., and Roy, P., 2021. Prevalence of anti-leptospiral antibodies and frequency distribution of Leptospira serovars in small ruminants in enzootic South Peninsular India. Veterinary World, 14(8), pp. 2023–2030. https://doi.org/10.14202/vetworld.2021.2023-2030

Barragan, V., Olivas, S., Keim, P., and Pearson, T., 2017. Critical knowledge gaps in our understanding about environmental cycling and transmission of Leptospira. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 83(19), pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1128/aem.01190-17

Bautista, L., Suárez, F., and Huanca, W., 2014. Seroprevalence of leptospirosis in sheep from two farms in Puno, Peru. Revista de Investigaciones Veterinarias del Perú, 25(2), pp. 324-328.

Campos, Â.P., Miranda, D.F.H., Rodrigues, H.W.S., Lustosa, M.S.C., Martins, G.H.C., Mineiro, A.L.B.B., Castro, V., Azevedo, S.S. and Silva, S.M.M.S., 2017. Seroprevalence and risk factors for leptospirosis in cattle, sheep, and goats at consorted rearing from the State of Piauí, northeastern Brazil. Tropical Animal Health Production, 49(5), pp. 899-907. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-017-1255-2

Consalter, A., Zanella, E.L., Martins, G.MdS, de Araujo, H.L., Lilenbaum, W., de Souza, G.N., Ferreira, A.M.R., 2019. Seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. infection in sheep from northwest of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Ciencia Rural, 49(12), pp. e20190144, 2. https://doi.org/10.1590/0103-8478cr20190144

Correia, L., Loureiro, A.P., and Lilenbaum, W., 2017. Effects of rainfall on incidental and host-maintained leptospiral infections in cattle in a tropical region. Veterinary Journal, 220, pp. 63-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2016.12.016

Dreyfus, A., Wilson, P., Benschop, J., Collins-Emerson, J., Verdugo, C., and Heuer, C., 2018. Seroprevalence and herd-level risk factors for seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. in sheep, beef cattle and deer in New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 66(6), pp. 302-311. https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2018.1507770

Eckstein, C., Lopes, L.B., Moustacas, V.S., Rodrigues, R.O., Castro, B.G., and Santos, R.L., 2017. Diagnosis of Leptospira spp. infection in sheep flocks in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Acta Scientific Veterinary Sciences, 45(1), p. 5. https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.80730

Ellis, W.A., 2015. Animal Leptospirosis. In: Adler B, ed. Leptospira and Leptospirosis. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 99-137.

Garba, B., Bahaman, A.R., Khairani-Bejo, S., Zakaria, Z., and Mutalib, A.R., 2017. Retrospective Study of Leptospirosis in Malaysia. EcoHealth, 14(2), pp. 389-398. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-017-1234-0

Higino, S.S.S., Santos, F.A., Costa, D.F., Santos, C.S.A.B., Silva, M.L.C.R., Alves, C.J., and Azevedo, S.S., 2013. Flock-level risk factors associated with leptospirosis in dairy goats in a semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 109, pp. 158–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.09.005

Lilenbaum, W., Varges, R., Ristow, P., Cortez, A., Souza, S.O., Richtzenhain, L.J., and Vasconvellos, S.A., 2009. Identification of Leptospira spp. carriers among seroreactive goats and sheep by polymerase chain reaction. Research Veterinary Science, 87(1), pp. 16-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2008.12.014

Luna Á., M.A., Socci E., G., Morales A., J.J., Oliveros I., J.M., and Luna R., E.M., 2018. Antibodies against Leptospira spp. in dairy goats in Guanajuato, Mexico. Revista de Investigaciones Veterinarias del Perú, 29(2), pp. 611-618.

Machado, A.C., Oliveira, J.M.B., Silva, J.L., de Assis, N.A., Brandespim, D.F., Mathias, L.A., Mota, R.A., Pinheiro , J.W., 2016. Epidemiologic analysis of Leptospira spp. infection among sheep in Pernambuco state, Brazil. Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 83, pp.1-7. https://doi.org/10.1590/1808-1657000222014

Malone, F.E., Hartley, H.M., and Skuce, R.A., 2010. Bacteriological examinations in sheep health management. Small Ruminant Research, 92(1–3), pp. 78-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2010.04.008

Martins, G. and Lilenbaum, W., 2014. Leptospirosis in sheep and goats under tropical conditions. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 46, pp. 11–17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-013-0480-6

Martins, G. and Lilenbaum, W., 2017. Control of bovine leptospirosis: Aspects for consideration in a tropical environment. Research Veterinary Science, 112, pp. 156-160.

Parra, S.J.A., Rodríguez, M.G., and Díaz, R.C.A., 2016. Preliminary serological study of Leptospira spp. in a sheep flock on the savannah of Bogotá. Revista de Medicina Veterinaria, 1(32), pp. 11-20.

Peña Ramírez, J.A., Martínez Herrera, D.I., Romero Salas, D., Pardío Sedas, V.T., Villagómez Cortés, J.A., Ornelas Cruz, J.V., Morales Álvarez. J.F., and Flores Castro, R., 2011. Seroepidemiológia de la leptospirosis caprina en la zona centro del estado de Veracruz. Memoria de la XXIV Reunión Científica-Tecnológica Forestal y Agropecuaria Veracruz y III del Trópico Mexicano 2011. INIFAP. Veracruz, México. Pp. 479-482.

Subharat, S., Wilson, P.R., Heuer, C., and Collins-Emerson, J.M., 2012. Longitudinal serological survey and herd-level risk factors for Leptospira spp. serovars Hardjo-bovis and Pomona on deer farms with sheep and/or beef cattle. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 60(4), pp. 215-222. https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2012.663323

SIAP, 2020. Veracruz: monthly report on livestock production. Servicio de Información Agroalimentaria y Pesquera, Secretaría de Desarrollo Agropecuario, Rural y Pesca. México. http://infosiap.siap.gob.mx/repoAvance_siap_gb/pecAvanceEdo.jsp

SIAP, 2021. Livestok population. Servicio de Información Agroalimentaria y Pesquera, Secretaría de Desarrollo Agropecuario, Rural y Pesca. México. https://www.gob.mx/siap/documentos/poblacion-ganadera-136762?idiom=es

Thrusfield, M., 2005. Veterinary Epidemiology 3rd ed. Oxford, England: Blackwell Science.

Topazio, J., Tonin, A.A., Machado, G., Noll, J.C.G., Ribeiro, A., Moura, A.B., Carmo, G.M., Grosskopf, H.M., Martins, J.L.R., Badke, M.R.T., Stefani, L.M., Lopes, L.S., and Da Silva, A.S., 2015. Antibodies to Leptospira interrogans in goats and risk factors of the disease in Santa Catarina (West side), Brazil. Research Veterinary Science, 99, pp. 53-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2015.01.014

WHO, 2003. Human leptospirosis: Guidance for diagnosis, surveillance and control. In Geneva: World Health Organization, pp. 47-57.

URN: http://www.revista.ccba.uady.mx/urn:ISSN:1870-0462-tsaes.v25i3.42050

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.56369/tsaes.4205

Copyright (c) 2022 Blanca Lilia Gabriel Vejar, David Itzcoatl Marti­nez Herrera, Dinora Vázquez Luna, José Alfredo Villagómez Cortés, Otto Raúl Leyva Ovalle, Jorge Isaac Torres Barranca, Patricia Melendez Valadez

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.