1Higher National Veterinary School, El Alia, Oued Smar, 1615, Algiers, Algeria
2Leptospira unit, Pasteur Institute of Algeria, Rue 1 of Doctor Laveran, Hamma Anassers Algiers, Algeria
3Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Algiers 1 (Benyoucef Benkhedda University), Algiers, Algeria
4Research Laboratory Management of Local Animal Resources, Higher National Veterinary School of Algeria, ENSV, Algeria
5 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, M’Hamed Bougara University, Boumerdes, Algeria
Background: By the nature of their environment and behavior, stray cats are at risk of exposure to leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is an emerging zoonotic disease with worldwide distribution. The prevalence of leptospirosis in the feline species in Algeria is unknown. The main objectives of this study are to determine the seroprevalence and identify the most common Leptospira serovars in stray cats in the Algiers region.
Methodology: Serum samples from 144 randomly selected healthy stray cats from 57 municipalities of the Algiers region were analyzed by the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The MAT was performed to determine the antibody titers against nine Leptospira serovars (Canicola, Copenhageni, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Autumnalis, Grippotyphosa, Bratislava, Pomona, Pyrogenes, Patoc). The age of each cat was estimated based on dentition and physical appearance, and information on cat sex, breed and clinical status were collected. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0
Results: Leptospira antibodies were detected in 8 of 144 healthy stray cats, giving a seroprevalence rate of
5.6% [95% confidence interval (CI)=1.814-9.297]. The antibody titers ranged from 1:100 to 1:3200. Serovars Pyrogenes (1:100) and Patoc (1:100) were the most prevalent serovars detected in 2.8% (4/144) of the cats, followed by serovars Icterohaemorrhagiae (1:100) and Bratislava (1:100) detected in 2.1% (3/144) of the cats. The seroprevalence of 7.8% (7/90) in the male cats was higher than 1.9% (1/54) in the female cats but this did not reach a significant difference (OR=4.47, 95% CI=0.5344-37.387, p=0.2586). All the positive cats were over one year of age.
Conclusion: This study showed that stray cats in Algiers are exposed to leptospirosis. In addition, the serovars detected are very common serovars in dogs and humans. The control of leptospirosis is largely dependent on general hygiene measures and the control of animal reservoirs. Additional investigations are necessary to clarify the epidemiology of the disease in the different regions of Algeria.
Keywords: Leptospira, cats, serology, MAT, Algiers
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