Leptospiral infection: a serosurvey in urban and rural communities in Olavarría county, Argentina

J Infect Dev Ctries. 2022 Apr 30;16(4):608-615. doi: 10.3855/jidc.13154.


Introduction: Leptospirosis is a neglected zoonotic disease, affecting mainly poor and vulnerable populations.

Methodology: A cross sectional-study was carried out in 557 subjects from Olavarría county (Argentina) to estimate the seroprevalence of leptospirosis and the factors associated with seropositivity. A survey was carried out to obtain clinical and epidemiological data. Serum was tested for anti-leptospiral antibodies by Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT). Chi-square or Fisher Exact tests were used to assess association between the MAT results and the exploratory variables. For the variables statistically associated, odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated. Individuals from Olavarría city were georeferenced to describe the spatial distribution and to detect clusters of seropositivity for leptospiral antibodies.

Results: The overall prevalence of leptospirosis infection was 7.00%, higher in rural (19.66%) than in urban populations (3.64%) (p < 0.001). Sejroe was the most predominant serogroup in rural communities while Icterohaemorrhagiae was the most prevalent in urban populations. The factors associated with Leptospira infection were the presence of rodents inside households (OR = 3.9) in rural populations, while contact with cats (OR = 4.97) and male gender (OR = 7.75) represented higher risk of infection for the urban ones. Cases with positive serology have been found near Tapalqué stream or in the peripheral areas of Olavarría city.

Conclusions: The results from data obtained during the study period were similar to other reports and demonstrate the importance of continuous epidemiological surveillance system and specific community educational campaigns to prevent the leptospirosis infection in Olavarría county and other communities with similar characteristics especially in rural areas.

Keywords: Leptospirosis; risk factors; seroprevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Agglutination Tests
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Cats
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Leptospira*
  • Leptospirosis* / epidemiology
  • Leptospirosis* / veterinary
  • Male
  • Rural Population
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Bacterial