Diana Stone, MPH, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVPM. and Sonia Cheetham Brow, DVM, PhD
Leptospira infection in bats
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of humans and animals caused by several pathogenic species of Leptospira. World wide leptospirosis is the most commonly diagnosed zoonotic disease. Tropical regions have the highest human incidence. Historically rats have been considered the main reservoir host for Leptospira species that are pathogenic for humans. Of interest is that recent studies have identified bats as a reservoir for some Leptospira bacteria. What is not known is whether bats in Grenada are infected with Leptospira and, if so, are they infected with human pathogenic species of Leptospira. Leptospira target the kidneys. We have over 100 kidneys from Grenada bats available for testing. To determine Leptospira infection status of bats in Grenada and the Leptospira species involved, we will test these kidneys for Leptospira DNA by using Leptospira species-specific primers and real-time PCR. Results will provide evidence of the possible role of bats as a reservoir host for human Leptospira organisms.