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VLA Publishes Update on Leptospirosis

by 5m Editor
20 December 2010, at 9:35am

UK - The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) has published an update on leptospirosis, which affects cattle, pigs and humans across the world.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria called leptospires. There are many different leptospires and they vary in the disease caused and the main animals affected.

They are commonly present in the urine of infected animals and can survive in water for long periods.

Infection may be spread by skin contact with infected urine or water or, less commonly, by ingesting urine contaminated feed or water.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs vary depending on the species of animal affected, and the type of leptospiral organism involved.

Leptospira hardjo in cattle may cause a sudden drop in milk production, abortions, birth of weak calves or infertility.

Pigs in the UK are commonly infected with Leptospira serovar Bratislava, which is reported to cause reproductive disease. However the significance of this infection in pigs remains uncertain.

Some animals may remain carriers of the organism without showing clinical signs and remain a source of infection for others.

In humans

Many of the leptospiral organisms can cause illness in humans and care should be taken by those handling infected animals or working in the immediate environment.

Geographical location

The different leptospires are widespread throughout the world, with some occurring in the UK.

VLA adds that its Herdsure Cattle Health Improvement Service offers a testing programme for BVD, Johne's disease, IBR, neosporosis and leptospirosis.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on leptospriosis by clicking here.

5m Editor