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Wild brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) are frequently implicated in the carriage and spread of Leptospira spp. Wild brown rats (n = 259) were trapped from 11 UK farms and tested for Leptospira spp. using a number of diagnostic tests. The prevalence of leptospiral infection was low, but there was variation in the results obtained with the different diagnostic tests. Estimates of prevalence ranged between 0% by silver-staining of tissues, 1% by the microscopic agglutination test, 4% by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, 4% by culture, and 8% by fluorescent antibody technique. In total, 37 (14%) rats were positive by at least one of the tests, which contrasts with the frequently reported prevalences of 50-70% for wild rats in the UK. Serovar bratislava was a prevalent as icterohaemorrhagiae, although it was present only on farms with larger rat populations.


Journal article


Epidemiol Infect

Publication Date





195 - 201


Animals, Animals, Wild, Antibodies, Bacterial, Bacteriological Techniques, Female, Leptospira, Male, Prevalence, Rats, United Kingdom