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Seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Italian horses.

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in healthy horses living in 7 provinces of central Italy. In the period 2007-2009, sera from 386 horses were tested by microagglutination test (MAT) to detect antibodies to Leptospira spp., employing the following serovars as antigens: Bratislava, Ballum, Canicola, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Pomona, Tarassovi. 3 animals were positive for the serovars Icterohaemorrhagiae, 2 to Bratislava, and 1 to Pomona, for a total 1.5% seroprevalence. All sera were examined by immunofluorence antibody test (IFAT) to reveal anti-B. burgdorferi s.l. antibodies. 94 (24.3%) horses were positive with antibody titres ranging from 1:64 to 1:1,024. The seroprevalence was significantly higher in >10 year-old horses compared to younger subjects. No significant differences in the mean seroprevalence were observed in the respective years. The total mean seroprevalence were strictly related to the environmental conditions of the areas in which the horses lived. No cross-reactions between Leptospira and Borrelia were observed. This is the first serological survey on antibodies to B. burgdorferi s.l. in Italian horses.

Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(2):237-40.

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