Leptospirosis is an important disease caused by various serovars of Leptospira sp. It can affect humans as well as domestic and wild animals; therefore, it has importance for public health, animal production, and wild species. The aim of this paper is to discuss the epidemiology of animal leptospirosis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a possible model for other tropical regions. In several studies conducted in the last 20 years, a total of 47 rats, 120 dogs, 875 cows, 695 horses, 1,343 goats, 308 sheep and 351 pigs from all regions of the state, in addition to 107 wild mammals and 73 golden-lion tamarins were tested (MAT) for anti-Leptospira antibodies.
Seroreactivity was frequent in all studied species, confirming that the infection is endemic in Rio de Janeiro. Serogroups Icterohaemorrhagiae and Sejroe were the most prevalent in urban and rural scenarios, respectively. This paper reviews the current knowledge on animal leptospirosis in Rio de Janeiro and describes important differences between urban versus rural cycles of the infection in various species.
Identification of the prevailing serogroups and their reservoirs is essential for understanding agent-host-environment interactions under tropical conditions.