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Urban Leptospirosis in Africa: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Leptospira Infection in Rodents in the Kibera Urban Settlement, Nairobi, Kenya

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    Rights statement: Copyright ©The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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http://www.ajtmh.org/content/early/2013/09/26/ajtmh.13-0415
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1102
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume89
Issue number6
Early online date30 Sep 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Abstract

Leptospirosis is a widespread but under-reported cause of morbidity and mortality. Global re-emergence of leptospirosis has been associated with the growth of informal urban settlements in which rodents are thought to be important reservoir hosts. Understanding the multi-host epidemiology of leptospirosis is essential to control and prevent disease. A cross-sectional survey of rodents in the Kibera settlement in Nairobi, Kenya was conducted in September-October 2008 to demonstrate the presence of pathogenic leptospires. A real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that 41 (18.3%) of 224 rodents carried pathogenic leptospires in their kidneys, and sequence data identified Leptospira interrogans and L. kirschneri in this population. Rodents of the genus Mus (37 of 185) were significantly more likely to be positive than those of the genus Rattus (4 of 39; odds ratio = 15.03). Questionnaire data showed frequent contact between humans and rodents in Kibera. This study emphasizes the need to quantify the public health impacts of this neglected disease at this and other urban sites in Africa.

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