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Spatio-temporal distribution and agroecological factors associated with canine leptospirosis in Great Britain

Taylor, C; Brodbelt, D C; Dobson, B A; Catchpole, B; O'neill, D G; Stevens, K B


C Taylor

D C Brodbelt

B A Dobson

B Catchpole

D G O'neill

K B Stevens


Leptospirosis is an important global zoonotic disease that affects a wide range of mammalian species. Canine leptospirosis outbreaks have been reported after flooding (eg. in Brazil and the United States of America) suggesting an environmental association, but there has been no such study in Great Britain (GB). The distribution of cases across GB is also unreported. Objectives of this study were to: (1) assess the spatiotemporal variation of suspected leptospirosis cases (2) explore associations between agro-environmental risk factors and distribution of different canine leptospirosis serogroups in GB, and (3) generate risk maps for the different serogroups. Data analysed comprised laboratory submissions (n=3,986) to IDEXX laboratories between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2018 for PCR or MAT leptospirosis testing. Spatial and seasonal scan statistics were used to investigate spatial and temporal clustering of infection, logistic regression was used to identify significant agro-environmental risk risk factors for infection, and the Maxent algorithm was used to model the environmental niche of four serogroups. There was an increased risk of a positive test result (for all serogroups) in the West Midlands of England (relative risk=2.16) and between October and January (relative risk=1.54). Season and region were significantly associated with a positive diagnosis. Logistic regression identified higher odds of a positive submission in Autumn (OR=1.86 95%CI 1.29-2.69) and Winter (OR=1.51, 95%CI 1.02-2.23) and in the East (OR=2.20, 95%CI=1.31-3.71) and West Midlands (OR=2.32 95%CI 1.45-3.71). An increased number of submissions and increased odds of a positive diagnosis in Autumn is suggestive of a seasonal pattern of leptospirosis. The most important variable associated with higher leptospirosis presence in all ecological niche models was higher average annual temperature. The importance and retention of other variables differed between serogroups. Overall, a higher probability of leptospirosis presence was predicted in southern England and a low probability in Scotland and northern England, with the exception of Sejroe.Although leptospirosis vaccine usage provides protection against the majority of serogroups identified here, Sejroe is not represented in the currently licensed vaccine formulations and therefore leptospirosis should remain a differential diagnosis in vaccinated dogs demonstrating consistent clinical signs of the disease.


Taylor, C., Brodbelt, D. C., Dobson, B. A., Catchpole, B., O'neill, D. G., & Stevens, K. B. (2021). Spatio-temporal distribution and agroecological factors associated with canine leptospirosis in Great Britain. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 193,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2020
Publication Date Feb 8, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 18, 2021
Journal Preventative Veterinary Medicine
Print ISSN 0167-5877
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 193
Public URL
Publisher URL


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