Seroepidemiology of Leptospira infection in slaughtered cattle in Gauteng province, South Africa

02 Oct 2020
Dogonyaro BB, van Heerden H, Potts AD, Kolo BF, Lotter C, Katsande C, Fasina FO, Ko AI, Wunder EA Jr and Adesiyun AA


Leptospirosis is an important economical disease of livestock globally, especially in Asia, the Caribbean, and the African continent. Its presence has been reported in a wide range of livestock. However, information on leptospirosis in South Africa is scanty. We conducted a cross-sectional study in 11 randomly selected abattoirs to determine the seroprevalence and risk factors for leptospirosis in slaughtered cattle in Gauteng province, South Africa. During abattoir visits to selected abattoirs, blood samples were collected from 199 cattle and demographic data obtained on the slaughtered animals. The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) was performed on all sera using a 26-serotype panel using cutoff titer ≥ 1:100. Animal- and abattoir-level risk factors were investigated for their association with seropositivity for leptospirosis. The seroprevalence of leptospirosis in the cattle sampled was 27.6% (55/199). The predominant serogroups detected in seropositive cattle were Sejroe (sv. Hardjo) (38.2%) and Mini sv. Szwajizak) (14.5%) but low to Canicola (sv. Canicola) (1.8%) and Pomona (sv. Pomona) (1.8%). The differences were statistically significant (P < 0.05). Of the five variables investigated, only one (abattoirs) had statistically significantly (P < 0.001) differences in the seroprevalence of leptospirosis among abattoirs. The study documented for the first time in South Africa, the occurrence of serogroups Sejroe (Hardjo bovis strain lely 607), Tarassovi, Hebdomadis, and Medanensis in slaughtered cattle. It was concluded that six of the nine serovars (representing seven serogroups) of Leptospira spp. circulating in cattle population in South Africa are not vaccine serogroups. The clinical, diagnostic, and public health importance of the findings cannot be ignored.