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Title: The diversity and ecology of Leptospira in Madagascar
Author: Moseley, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 6247
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Multi-host pathogens include some of the most important pathogens of humans and livestock and, due to their complex biology, are particularly difficult to control. Leptospirosis is one of the most common, but neglected, zoonotic diseases in the world and an important cause of production losses in livestock. In Madagascar, potentially pathogenic Leptospira have been identified in both invasive and endemic small mammal hosts with strict associations noted between Leptospira species and host genera. However, in other regions, it is understood that Leptospira can infect multiple hosts and that livestock may also be important reservoir hosts. The aim of this study was to use molecular assays to elucidate the epidemiology of Leptospira infections in small mammals and livestock and to explore their role as reservoir hosts in Madagascar. Sampling of the small mammal community was performed across a heterogeneous landscape in eastern Madagascar and abattoir sampling of livestock was undertaken. We identified complex transmission dynamics, including mixed infections, within the reservoir community with spillover between endemic and invasive small mammal hosts, small mammals and livestock and a potential molecular link between a human case of leptospirosis in Madagascar and small mammal infections. In Rattus rattus, the most abundant invasive small mammal in Madagascar, the epidemiology of L. borgpetersenii and L. interrogans infections differs and facilitation of infection between the two species occurs. Moreover, we show that invasive small mammals (R. rattus and Mus musculus) and cattle may act as epidemiological bridges and amplification hosts, respectively. The reservoir for Leptospira in Madagascar is complex and both invasive small mammals and livestock may play a significant role as sources of human infection in Madagascar. These results suggest that further research in this system has the potential to answer important questions regarding the epidemiology, ecology and evolution of multi-host pathogens.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) ; Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Leptospira