Epidemiology of Leptospirosis in Africa: A Systematic Review of a Neglected Zoonosis and a Paradigm for 'One Health' in Africa.


BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis is an important but neglected bacterial zoonosis that has been largely overlooked in Africa. In this systematic review, we aimed to summarise and compare current knowledge of: (1) the geographic distribution, prevalence, incidence and diversity of acute human leptospirosis in Africa; and (2) the geographic distribution, host range, prevalence and diversity of Leptospira spp. infection in animal hosts in Africa. METHODS: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we searched for studies that described (1) acute human leptospirosis and (2) pathogenic Leptospira spp. infection in animals. We performed a literature search using eight international and regional databases for English and non-English articles published between January 1930 to October 2014 that met out pre-defined inclusion criteria and strict case definitions. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We identified 97 studies that described acute human leptospirosis (n = 46) or animal Leptospira infection (n = 51) in 26 African countries. The prevalence of acute human leptospirosis ranged from 2 3% to 19 8% (n = 11) in hospital patients with febrile illness. Incidence estimates were largely restricted to the Indian Ocean islands (3 to 101 cases per 100,000 per year (n = 6)). Data from Tanzania indicate that human disease incidence is also high in mainland Africa (75 to 102 cases per 100,000 per year). Three major species (Leptospira borgpetersenii, L. interrogans and L. kirschneri) are predominant in reports from Africa and isolates from a diverse range of serogroups have been reported in human and animal infections. Cattle appear to be important hosts of a large number of Leptospira serogroups in Africa, but few data are available to allow comparison of Leptospira infection in linked human and animal populations. We advocate a 'One Health' approach to promote multidisciplinary research efforts to improve understanding of the animal to human transmission of leptospirosis on the African continent.





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Publication Info

Allan, Kathryn J, Holly M Biggs, Jo EB Halliday, Rudovick R Kazwala, Venance P Maro, Sarah Cleaveland and John A Crump (2015). Epidemiology of Leptospirosis in Africa: A Systematic Review of a Neglected Zoonosis and a Paradigm for 'One Health' in Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9(9). p. e0003899. 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003899 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13766.

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John Andrew Crump

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine

I am based in northern Tanzania where I am Site Leader for Duke University’s collaborative research program based at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and Director of Tanzania Operations for the Duke Global Health Institute. I oversee the design and implementation of research studies on infectious diseases, particularly febrile illness, invasive bacterial disease, HIV-associated opportunistic infections, clinical trials of antiretroviral therapy and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and infectious diseases diagnostics. In addition, I am a medical epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My CDC work focuses on enteric infection epidemiology and prevention in developing countries, particularly invasive salmonelloses.

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