Leptospirosis in humans usually involves hypokalaemia and
hypomagnesaemia and the putative mechanism underlying such ionic imbalances may
be related to nitric oxide (NO) production. We previously demonstrated the
correlation between serum levels of NO and the severity of renal disease in
patients with severe leptospirosis. Methylene blue inhibits soluble guanylyl
cyclase (downstream of the action of any NO synthase isoforms) and was recently
reported to have beneficial effects on clinical and experimental sepsis. We
investigated the occurrence of serum ionic changes in experimental leptospirosis
at various time points (4, 8, 16 and 28 days) in a hamster model. We also
determined the effect of methylene blue treatment when administered as an
adjuvant therapy, combined with late initiation of standard antibiotic
(ampicillin) treatment. Hypokalaemia was not reproduced in this model: all of
the groups developed increased levels of serum potassium (K). Furthermore,
hypermagnesaemia, rather than magnesium (Mg) depletion, was observed in this
hamster model of acute infection. These findings may be associated with an
accelerated progression to acute renal failure. Adjuvant treatment with
methylene blue had no effect on survival or serum Mg and K levels during
acute-phase leptospirosis in hamsters.
leptospirosis; methylene blue; models; animal
Although leptospirosis may be fatal in childhood, the experience of many clinicians working in disease-endemic areas is that classic Weil's disease and death are less common among pediatric patients. The aim of the study was to ascertain disease spectrum and outcome differences in severe pediatric and adult leptospirosis in a large at-risk population. Epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory data were obtained on hospitalized cases from São Paulo during 2004–2006. A total of 42 case-patients < 18 years of age and 328 case-patients ≥ 18 years of age were tested during the study. Compared with children, adults had higher rates of jaundice (P = 0.01), elevated serum bilirubin levels (P < 0.01), oliguria (P = 0.02), and elevated creatinine levels (P = 0.01) but not for thrombocytopenia or pulmonary involvement. The overall case-fatality rate was 27% (adult) versus 5% (pediatric) (P < 0.01). Severe pediatric leptospirosis may be less likely to show all classic features of Weil's disease and may be less fatal than in adults.
The outcome of leptospirosis after the resolution of acute disease, either spontaneously or after treatment, is not well described. The aim of this study was to assess the possible sequelae of acute leptospirosis after hospital discharge.
We report here a prospective study carried out in São Paulo, Brazil in which patients hospitalized for leptospirosis were followed in the outpatient setting.
Forty-seven patients were serially assessed: 32 severe and 15 mild cases. Early and late complications were not common in either group, but subjective complaints were common in the first few weeks after hospital discharge (53% of severe cases, 40% of mild cases). Two patients had continuing complaints: one had profound general malaise and the other developed new onset panic disorder. The sample analyzed represented 26% of the patients hospitalized with leptospirosis in the city of São Paulo during the study period. The duration of follow-up was an average of approximately 20 days at the first visit, and approximately 40 days at the second visit. Forty-seven patients came for one follow-up visit and 22 of the same patients had two follow-up visits.
While two of 47 patients reported continuing symptoms after hospitalization for acute leptospirosis, no definitive, objective evidence of chronic sequelae due to this infection was proven. While preliminary, these observations point to the need for a prospective, rigorous and systematic study to definitively determine and characterize late complications and chronic disease after acute leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis; Follow-up; Acute disease; Chronic sequelae
A major limitation in the clinical management and experimental research of leptospirosis is the poor performance of the available methods for the direct detection of leptospires. In this study, we compared real-time PCR (qPCR), targeting the lipL32 gene, with the immunofluorescent imprint method (IM) for the detection and quantification of leptospires in kidney samples from the rat and hamster experimental models of leptospirosis. Using a virulent strain of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni, a chronic infection was established in the rat model, which were euthanized 28 days post-infection, while the hamster model simulated an acute infection and the hamsters were euthanized eight days after inoculation. Leptospires in the kidney samples were detected using culture isolation, qPCR and the IM, and quantified using qPCR and the IM. In both the acute and chronic infection models, the correlation between quantification by qPCR and the IM was found to be positive and statistically significant (P<0.05). Therefore, this study demonstrates that the IM is a viable alternative for not only the detection but also the quantification of leptospires, particularly when the use of qPCR is not feasible.
The aims of this study were to investigate the frequency of pulmonary hemorrhage (PH) in mice unable to produce functional B and T lymphocytes and to explore the effect of an inducible nitric oxide synthase gene (Inos) knockout (KO) on the frequency/severity of interstitial nephritis in vivo. We studied the outcome of infection by the virulent Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni strain Cop. The animals used were Inos KO mice, recombination activating gene 1 (Rag1) KO mice, CB17 severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice, and the respective wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 and BALB/c controls. The Inos KO and WT mice survived with no clinical symptoms of leptospirosis. The frequency and severity of nephritis was significantly lower in the Inos KO mice. All of the Rag1 KO and SCID animals died of acute leptospirosis, whereas all of the WT mice survived. PH was observed in 57 and 94% of Rag1 KO mice and in 83 and 100% of SCID mice, using inoculum doses of 107 and 106 leptospires, respectively. There was no evidence of PH in the WT controls. In conclusion, the loss of the Inos gene had a negligible effect on the outcome of leptospiral infection, although we observed a reduced susceptibility for interstitial nephritis in this group. Of note, the absence of functional B- and T-cell lymphocytes did not preclude the occurrence of PH. These data provide evidence that PH in leptospirosis may not be related only to autoimmune mechanisms.
In determining the efficacy of new vaccine candidates for leptospirosis, the primary end point is death and an important secondary end point is sterilizing immunity. However, evaluation of this end point is often hampered by the time-consuming demands and complexity of methods such as culture isolation (CI). In this study, we evaluated the use of an imprint (or touch preparation) method (IM) in detecting the presence of leptospires in tissues of hamsters infected with Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni. In a dissemination study, compared to CI, the IM led to equal or improved detection of leptospires in kidney, liver, lung and blood samples collected post-infection and overall concordance was good (κ=0.61). Furthermore, in an evaluation of hamsters immunized with a recombinant leptospiral protein-based vaccine candidate and subsequently challenged, the agreement between the CI and IM was very good (κ=0.84). These findings indicate that the IM is a rapid method for the direct observation of Leptospira spp. that can be readily applied to evaluating infection in experimental animals and determining sterilizing immunity when screening potential vaccine candidates.
A survey was conducted to identify reservoirs for urban leptospirosis in the city of Salvador, Brazil. Sampling protocols were performed in the vicinity of households of severe leptospirosis cases identified during active hospital-based surveillance. Among a total of 142 captured Rattus norvegicus (Norwegian brown rat), 80.3% had a positive culture isolate from urine or kidney specimens and 68.1% had a positive serum sample by microscopic agglutination test (MAT) titre of ≥1:100. Monoclonal antibody-based typing of isolates identified that the agent carried by rats was L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni, which was the same serovar isolated from patients during hospital-based surveillance. Leptospira spp. were not isolated from 8 captured Didelphis marsupialis (Opossum), while 5/7 had a positive MAT titre against a saprophytic serogroup. R. rattus were not captured during the survey. The study findings indicate that the brown rat is a major rodent reservoir for leptospirosis in this urban setting. Furthermore, the high carriage rates of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni in captured rats suggest that there is a significant degree of environmental contamination with this agent in the household environment of high risk areas, which in turn is a cause of transmission during urban epidemics.
Leptospira; Leptospirosis; Rats; Poverty Areas
Effort has been made to identify protective antigens in order to develop a recombinant vaccine against leptospirosis. Several attempts failed to conclusively demonstrate efficacy of vaccine candidates due to the lack of an appropriate model of lethal leptospirosis. The purposes of our study were: (i) to test the virulence of leptospiral isolates from Brazil, which are representative of important serogroups that cause disease in humans and animals; and (ii) to standardize the lethal dose 50% (LD50) for each of the virulent strains using a hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) model. Five of seven Brazilian isolates induced lethality in a hamster model, with inocula lower than 200 leptospires. Histopathological examination of infected animals showed typical lesions found in both natural and experimental leptospirosis. Results described here demonstrated the potential use of Brazilian isolates as highly virulent strains in challenge experiments using hamster as an appropriate animal model for leptospirosis. Furthermore these strains may be useful in heterologous challenge studies which aim to evaluate cross-protective responses induced by subunit vaccine candidates.
Leptospira; leptospirosis; lethal dose; isolation; animal model; virulence
In this study, we observed the presence of antileptospiral agglutinins in freshwater turtles of two urban lakes of Pelotas, Southern Brazil. Forty animals (29 Trachemys dorbigny and 11 Phrynops hilarii) were captured and studied. Attempts to isolate leptospires from blood and urine samples were unsuccessful. Serum samples (titer > 100) reactive to pathogenic strains were observed in 11 animals. These data encourage surveys of pet turtles to evaluate the risk of transmission of pathogenic leptospires to humans.
Leptospirosis; Turtles; Agglutinins
Zoonoses; Leptospira noguchii; leptospirosis; isolation; taxonomy; letter
To ascertain prognostic factors associated with fatal outcomes in severe leptospirosis, a retrospective case-control study was done using population-based surveillance data. Centralized death certificate reporting of leptospirosis mortality was combined with details of patients’ hospitalizations, which were obtained from hospitals representing all sectors of São Paulo city. Among identified leptospirosis cases, 89 lethal cases and 281 survivor cases were analyzed. Predictors of death included age > 40 years, development of oliguria, platelet count < 70,000/µL, creatinine > 3 mg/dL, and pulmonary involvement. The latter was the strongest risk factor with an estimated odds ratio of 6.0 (95% confidence interval: 3.0–12.0). Serologic findings with highest titer against Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni did not show significant differences between survivors and non-survivors. Lung involvement was an important predictor of death in leptospirosis in São Paulo, of relevance in leptospirosis-endemic regions where this complication is common.
We report a case of severe hypomagnesemia in non-oliguric acute renal failure caused by leptospirosis that required large doses of magnesium replacement during the acute phase of disease. Biochemical studies confirmed kidney-related magnesium wasting and the mechanisms of this defect are discussed. Magnesium imbalance with its attendant clinical complications occurs in leptospirosis and should be monitored and treated aggressively in cases of leptospirosis-induced non-oliguric acute kidney injury.
Leptospirosis is a globally distributed zoonosis of major public health importance and is associated with severe disease manifestations such as acute renal failure and pulmonary haemorrhage syndrome. However, the extent to which the pathogenesis of leptospirosis mimics sepsis caused by Gram-negative bacteria remains unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate serum levels of nitric oxide (NO) in patients diagnosed with severe leptospirosis. Sera from 35 confirmed cases of severe leptospirosis and 13 healthy subjects were analysed. Patients with severe leptospirosis had significantly higher NO levels compared to healthy individuals (30.82 ± 10.90 μM versus 3.86 ± 1.34 μM, P<0.001), indicating that this immune mediator plays a role in the underlying systemic inflammatory response.
Leptospirosis; Nitric Oxide; Acute renal failure; Pulmonary haemorrhage
Severe leptospirosis with pulmonary hemorrhage is emerging globally. Measures to control leptospirosis through sanitation depend on accurate case finding and reporting. Rapid death certificate reporting, plus necropsy of persons who died of leptospirosis, facilitates public health intervention and could provide an important tool in assessing the global burden of leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis; zoonotic disease; notification; emerging infectious disease; Brazil; dispatch