Diagnosis of Leptospira spp. Infection in Sheep Flocks in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil


  • Camila Eckstein Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Campus de Sinop, Sinop, MT, Brazil.
  • Luciano Bastos Lopes Embrapa Agrossilvipastoril, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Veterinária, Sinop.
  • Valéria Spyridion Moustacas Escola de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.
  • Rogério Oliveira Rodrigues Instituto de Pesquisa Veterinária Desidério Finamor (IPVDF), FEPAGRO Saúde Animal, Eldorado do Sul, RS, Brazil.
  • Bruno Gomes de Castro Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Campus de Sinop, Sinop, MT, Brazil.
  • Renato Lima Santos Escola de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.




small ruminants, leptospirosis, serology.


Background: Leptospirosis has a worldwide distribution with high social and economic impact. It is caused by a variety of Leptospira spp. serovars, particularly in tropical regions. Various species of animals can be affected by Leptospira spp. including cattle, horses, sheep, goats and swine, and can act as a reservoir for human infection. In Brazil, sheep leptospirosis has been diagnosed in a variety of States, however, little is known about sheep flocks of Mato Grosso. Considering the marked growth of sheep industry in Mato Grosso State in past recent years, this study aimed to evaluate the frequency of serologically positive sheep for Leptospira spp. serovars in the State of Mato Grosso (Brazil).

Materials, Methods & Results: Blood samples of 346 sheep, which belonged to 16 sheep flocks of the medium northern region of Mato Grosso was obtained by jugular vein puncture. Serum was obtained by blood centrifugation and stored at -20°C until the test to be performed. The diagnosis was performed using the microscopic agglutination test. Serovars Australis, Autumnalis, Bataviae, Bolívia, Castelonis, Celledoni, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Hardjobovis, Hebdomadis, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Javanica, Lagoa, Norma, Panama, Pomona, Sejroe, Shermani, Szwajizak, and Wolffi were tested. Reactions were considered positive with minimum titration of 1:100. Considering all serovars, 54.9% of sheep were positive, and the serovar more frequently detected was Celledoni (22.8%), followed by Javanica (19.4%), Castellonis (16.5%), and Norma (15.3%), with predominance of titration of 100 for these serovars, while only one sheep had a titration of 1:800 detected for serovar Hardjo. All flocks (100%) were positive (at least one positive animal), with the frequency of animals positive to Leptospira spp. varying of 31.3% to 79.2% in flocks.

Discussion: Infection for Leptospira spp. in humans has a large social and sanitary impact. Under an animal health perspective, beyond sanitary impact, leptospirosis have a large economic impact and can act as important reservoirs for Leptospira spp. for human infection, especially in tropical conditions, which favor the persistence of agent in the environment. The occurrence of sheep leptospirosis has been diagnosed in several States of Brazil as Rio Grande do Sul, Paraíba, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Maranhão, with frequency of herds positive for Leptospira spp. varying of 5.4% to 47.4%, however, the frequency of positive sheep in this study was higher than these previous reports in other Brazilian States. The most frequent serovar in sheep flocks have a great importance for prophylactic control. However, there were identified as main frequent serovar Celledoni and Javanica, which are considered unusual in sheep, and indicates a peculiar profile of ovine serovars for the region. Considering de high frequency of positive farms (100%) in Mato Grosso and the lack of studies about the occurrence of leptospirosis in this region, our results suggest the occurrence of risk factors that can favor the dispersion and survival of agent. Contact of the sheep evaluated in this study with other animal species such as cattle, dogs, and horses that can serve as a source for sheep infection or may become contaminated from sheep. Then, the profile of sheep infection by Leptospira spp. in the State of Mato Grosso has a peculiar profile of serovars, with high frequency of infection of animals and herds.


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How to Cite

Eckstein, C., Lopes, L. B., Moustacas, V. S., Rodrigues, R. O., Castro, B. G. de, & Santos, R. L. (2017). Diagnosis of Leptospira spp. Infection in Sheep Flocks in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 45(1), 5. https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.80730