A serological survey on Leptospiral infection in companion rabbits referred to Veterinary Hospital of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz



Leptospirosis is one of the major zoonotic diseases worldwide. This disease is caused by various serovars of Leptospira
interrogans sensu lato infection. Although the rabbits are known to be one of the reservoirs and transmission sources of
leptospirosis, but the status of this infection in rabbits in Iran remains unknown, so this survey was conducted to evaluate the seroprevalence of leptospiral infection in companion rabbits in Ahvaz district from September 2010 to December 2013. Blood samples were taken from 68 companion rabbits, referred to veterinary hospital of shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz. Sera were screened for antibodies against serovars of Canicola, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Grippotyphosa, Ballum, Hardjo, Pomona, Australis and Tarassovi using the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). From a total of 68 rabbits, 19 (27.94%) were serologically positive for the serovars of L. Icterohaemorrhagiae, Tarassovi, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Pomona and Australis. The positive titers were detected between 1:100 to 1:200 dilutions. The predominant titers were directed against serovars of Icterohaemorrhagiae (36.84%; 7 out of 19) and Tarassovi (36.84%; 7 out of 19) and followed by Hardjo (21.05%; 4 out of 19), Australis (10.53%; 2 out of 19), Pomona (5.26%; 1 out of 19) and rippotyphosa (5.26%; 1 out of 19). Antibodies against more than one serovar (mixed infections) were detected in three samples (as Pomona+Hardjo and Icterohaemorrhagiae+ Tarassovi). The prevalence was significantly higher in adult rabbits above 3 years (37.04%; 10 out of 27) and between 1-3 years (36.36%; 8 out of 22) compared with rabbits less than 1 years (5.26%; 1 out of 19) (P0.05). This survey indicated that serovars of L. Icterohaemorrhagiae and Tarassovi were predominant in the rabbits of this area and can be a source of infection for humans. The obtained results provide useful information on the epidemiology of leptospirosis in this species, which has not been previously investigated.