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Detection of Leptospira spp. in Captive Broad-Snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris)

  • Lucas Nogueira Paz
  • Camila Hamond
  • Carla Silva Dias
  • Vitor P. Curvelo
  • Marco Alberto Medeiros
  • Arianne Pontes Oriá
  • Melissa Hanzen PinnaEmail author
Original Contribution


Leptospira sp. is an important waterborne zoonotic bacterium, known to cause infection in animals and humans worldwide. The role of reptiles in the transmission of this microorganism is poorly understood and historically neglected. This study aimed to investigate the presence of anti-Leptospira spp. antibodies and leptospiral DNA in captive Caiman latirostris (broad-snouted caiman). Of the 23 reptiles studied by microscopic agglutination test (MAT), 22/23 (95.65%) were considered reactive (titers ≥ 100) and 1/23 (4.35%) non-reactive (titer < 100). The serogroup with highest occurrence was Grippotyphosa (68.18%, n = 15/22) followed by serogroup Djasiman (18.18%, n = 4/22). Specific amplification of Leptospira spp. gene lipL32 was observed in six (26.09%, n = 6/23) blood samples. Five of six samples, previously detected as pathogenic leptospira by PCR, were amplified and sequenced. All the samples corresponded to the pathogenic species Leptospira interrogans (presented 100% of identity) using the PCR targeting to secY gene. We demonstrated high detection of DNA of L. interrogans in crocodilians, and the authors suggest that further research is needed to elucidate the impact of Leptospira spp. infection in health broad-snouted caimans as well as the pathophysiology of leptospirosis in crocodilians.


Reptiles Leptospirosis Zoonosis Crocodilian Diagnosis 



We would like to thank the government agencies CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) (Grant No. EDITAL PROPCI-PROPG/UFBA 02/2011 - PRODOC-UFBA) and FAPESB (Fundacão de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado da Bahia) (Grant Nos. 1299/2014, 2270/2018) for the financial support. Additionally, the authors acknowledge Alberto Vinicius Oliveira (Coordinator of the Getulio Vargas Zoobotanic Park, Salvador, BA, Brazil) and all veterinarians, technicians, staff and veterinary students who contributed to this work.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas Nogueira Paz
    • 1
  • Camila Hamond
    • 2
  • Carla Silva Dias
    • 1
  • Vitor P. Curvelo
    • 3
  • Marco Alberto Medeiros
    • 4
  • Arianne Pontes Oriá
    • 1
  • Melissa Hanzen Pinna
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Veterinary Medicine and ZootechnyFederal University of BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  2. 2.Plataforma de Salud Animal, Instituto Nacional de Investigación AgropecuariaColoniaUruguay
  3. 3.Getúlio Vargas Zoobotanic ParkSalvadorBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratory of Recombinant Technology, Bio-ManguinhosBrazilian Ministry of Health, FIOCRUZRio de JaneiroBrazil

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