Published Date: 2004-09-07 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Leptospirosis, human, canine - USA (TX)(02)
Archive Number: 20040907.2499
LEPTOSPIROSIS, HUMAN, CANINE - USA (TEXAS)(02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 4 Sep 2004
From: Merritt Clifton <email@example.com>
There are a lot of troops and aircraft passing through Lackland Air
Force Base these days after service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both
these countries have endemic leptospirosis.
Of particular interest, there may be dog handlers and perhaps even
dogs coming in from guarding prisoners in Iraq, since much of the
job was turned over to the Iraqi provisional government in June 2004.
Editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE
Date: 5 Sep 2004
From: Ken Waldrup<firstname.lastname@example.org
[From the previous posting on this subject: "... the DOD (Department
of Defense) Veterinary Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory, FSH,
found positive titers to 3 Leptospirosis serovars and identified the
organism via dark field microscope from 3 military working dogs
(MWDs)in medical therapy for renal failure."]
What were the 3 serovars found? We have multiple _Leptospira_
serovars present in Texas, infecting a variety of hosts from rodents
and raccoons to deer and cattle.
Given the populations of wildlife present in the general environs of
San Antonio, any of these serovars could be possible pathogens.
Were the affected dogs not vaccinated? Failure of vaccination would
also pose a more serious problem than infection of non-vaccinated
Ken Waldrup, DVM, PhD
Texas Animal Health Commission
Date: 06 Sep 2004
From: Dr. Craig Carter <email@example.com>
I am on the road so I don't have the exact numbers, but I performed a
survey on canine leptospirosis for all cases received by the Texas
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratories in 2002 (Texas
Veterinarian, April 2003 issue). Multiple calls from practicing
veterinarians in TX asking whether there was still leptospirosis in
dogs in the state prompted me to carry out the study
As I recall there were about 100 cases with positive MAT [modified
agglutination test] titers, and roughly 30 of these reported clinical signs
consistent with leptospirosis, along with laboratory confirmation by
histopathology and/or PCR [polymerase chain reaction test]. The cases
reflected the same shift seen nationally away from serovars from _Leptospira
icterohaemorrhagiae_ & _L. canicola_ toward _L. grippotyphosa_ & _L. pomona_.
Bottom-line, there is still clinical leptospirosis in dogs in Texas.
Furthermore, reported reactions and other vaccine-related issues have
apparently caused a lot of practitioners to stop using the leptospiral
bacterins. I do believe the Army and USAF are vaccinating for
leptospirosis, but I'm not sure whether they are using the 4-way
product that protects against _L. grippotyphosa_ & _L. pomona_.
Serovars do not cross-protect, and if the old canicola/icterohaemorrhagiae
products are being used, this could be a problem.
Craig N. Carter, DVM PhD
Head, Epidemiology & Informatics
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratories
College Station, TX
[Thanks to all who wrote. It appears there are several issues.
The US Army unclassified release did not detail the serovar(s) found
in either the Military Working Dogs (MWD) or in their handlers. With
military traffic from the Middle East region, knowing the type of
serovar could be very important. Is this a serovar not in any of the
vaccines? Is it a serovar that has not been in Texas before? What
are the possibilities that if this is a serovar not previously
present in Texas, it could get into a wildlife reservoir?
Identifying the serovar found in the MWDs and handlers would
certainly help with some the epidemiology questions.
There has been a suggestion that the Army is not vaccinating its MWD
for Leptospirosis. It has also been suggested that those MWD
originating from Texas are vaccinated. It would be helpful to know
the vaccination status of these MWD. It would also be worthwhile for
those in the army making decisions regarding vaccines to use on MWDs,
to consider including leptospirosis in the protocol.
Although there are veterinarians who may disagree, it would seem
appropriate that animals in Texas be vaccinated with a bacterin
against the most prevalent type of serovar. For those practioners who
wish to question this, please discuss it with Dr. Carter of the Texas
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, contact info above. - Mod.TG]