, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 260–274 | Cite as

Microhabitat Factors Influenced the Prevalence of Pathogenic Leptospira spp. in Small Mammal Host

  • Muhammad Afif Yusof
  • Farah Shafawati Mohd-TaibEmail author
  • Siti Nabilah Ishak
  • Shukor Md-Nor
  • Shahrul Anuar Md-Sah
  • Nor Zalipah Mohamed
  • Nurul Natasya Azhari
  • Vasanthakumari Neela
  • Zamberi Sekawi
Original Contribution


Leptospirosis, a widespread zoonotic disease, is a public health problem, especially in major urban centres, and is mainly reported to be associated with rats. In Malaysia, focus has been primarily given to the Leptospira prevalence in rodents per se, but there is lack of information on the microhabitat structure of the outbreak areas. We aimed to determine the diversity of small mammal species, microhabitat types, and their prevalence of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in the outbreak areas, which were categorized as urban, semi-urban, and recreational forests. Sampling involved deploying 100 to 300 live traps at each study site. Kidney samples were extracted from selected individuals, for screening of pathogenic Leptospira spp. by PCR. Out of 537 individuals from 15 small mammal species captured, 4 species were recorded from urban, 13 from semi-urban, and 11 from recreational forest sites. From 389 individuals screened, 58 were tested positive for pathogenic Leptospira. Recreational forests recorded the highest prevalence with 19.4% (n = 93), followed by urban, 16.6% (n = 163) and semi-urban sites with 9.8% (n = 133). Seven rodent species were tested positive for pathogenic Leptospira from all areas. R. norvegicus was found to harbour the highest prevalence (66.7%) in urban, R. rattus (53.8%) in semi-urban, whereby M. whiteheadi (44.4%) in recreational forest sites. Microhabitat analysis revealed that rubbish quantity contributed especially strongly to a high prevalence of Leptospira. This study contributes to understanding of the host and microhabitat preferences of Leptospira, which is important in controlling the spread of this disease in human’s landscapes.


Rodents Urban Recreational forest Leptospirosis Prevalence Microhabitat 



We want to thank the District Health Office of Hulu Langat, Selangor State Health Department, Ministry of Health Malaysia for providing us with the information on Leptospirosis cases and reports. We extend our gratitude to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia, Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia and Tourism Selangor for granting us permission to conduct this study. We also would like to thank field staff from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for their assistance during the sampling, as well as Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for their various administrative and supports. This research was only made possible with financial support from the Ministry of Higher Education and Universiti Putra Malaysia through Long Term Research Grant Scheme (LRGS Phase 2/2014, UPM/700-2/7/LRGS/5526400) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia through Grant ST-2015-014.


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Afif Yusof
    • 1
  • Farah Shafawati Mohd-Taib
    • 2
    Email author
  • Siti Nabilah Ishak
    • 2
  • Shukor Md-Nor
    • 2
  • Shahrul Anuar Md-Sah
    • 1
  • Nor Zalipah Mohamed
    • 4
  • Nurul Natasya Azhari
    • 3
  • Vasanthakumari Neela
    • 3
  • Zamberi Sekawi
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.Wildlife Research Group, Center for Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  4. 4.School of Marine and Environmental SciencesUniversiti Malaysia TerengganuKuala TerengganuMalaysia

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