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An emerging global public health problem

CANINE LEPTOSPIROSIS

Leptospirosis is an emerging global public health problem because of increasing incidence in both developing and developed countries [1-3]. It is caused by pathogenic spirochetes that occur all over the world with numerous hosts and it is reemerging as an important zoonotic disease.

Different serovars of Leptospira interrogans are ubiquitously present in sub-clinically infected wild and domestic animal reservoir hosts . In 1886, Adolf Weil reported clinical syndrome characterized by splenomegaly, nephritis and jaundice, commonly referred as Weil’s disease that became synonymous of leptospirosis. Reservoir hosts are a source of infection for human and other incidental hosts.

Leptospirosis is known to be endemic disease in India. Most of the outbreaks of leptospirosis in India are frequently reported from the coastal area of the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Andaman Islands.

Highest rates occur during monsoon season in these parts. Incidence of canine leptospirosis higher in rainy season when there is abundant standing water and swampy conditions. Dogs generally get infection through direct contact, standing water, contaminated urine, contaminated water, vegetation, soils and contaminated food. To prevent the disease, vaccines are available for dogs; however, vaccine does not contain relevant serovars always and duration of immunity is only for 12 months. Practice of vaccination routinely followed in pet dogs. However, whosoever left unvaccinated is prone to disease. Even, stray dogs are seldom vaccinated against leptospira.

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