Abstract

Background

Leptospirosis is an important public health threat in sub-Saharan Africa but little is known regarding the host spectrum and epidemiology of this zoonotic disease.

Methods

289 kidney samples from 69 wild, domestic and peri-domestic species in northern Botswana were screened for the presence of Leptospira sp.

Results

Renal carriage was widespread among mammals (31.4%, n=11/35 species), birds (27.8%, n=5/18 species) and reptiles (6.3%, n=1/16 species), including several novel species.

Conclusion

Leptospiral surveillance is often limited to the usual suspects: rodents and domestic animals. We identify Leptospira in a wide range of African wildlife, suggesting that leptospirosis transmission and persistence may also involve hosts not normally considered.

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