Leptospirosis is a bacterial, zoonotic disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira. Rodents are known to carry pathogenic Leptospira, but livestock are also important hosts. The disease is economically important in cattle, causing abortion, decreased fertility and decline in milk yield. Pathogenic Leptospira are shed in cattle urine and can survive in the environment. Only a few studies have been performed in Ethiopia to investigate the presence of Leptospira. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of pathogenic Leptospira in cattle in peri-urban areas of Addis Ababa. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in peri-urban areas of Addis Ababa. Urine was collected from cattle. DNA was extracted and real-time PCR with melting curve analysis was performed to detect pathogenic Leptospira. Knowledge, attitudes and practices of the cattle-keeping households were assessed by a questionnaire and household level risk factors investigated using logistic regression. In total, 168 urine samples were collected from 168 cattle in 70 households. Pathogenic Leptospira were found in 3 of the 168 (1.8%) urine samples. Although potential exposure pathways were widely present in the households, no significant risk factors were detected in regression analysis. This study has shown that pathogenic Leptospira are present in cattle in peri-urban areas of Addis Ababa, which could be a potential threat for humans. These findings emphasize the need for large-scale studies concerning pathogenic Leptospira in Ethiopia, especially in communities with high human-animal interaction.
Key words: Pathogenic leptospira, PCR, Ethiopia, cattle, leptospirosis.
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