Occurrence of bovine leptospirosis in Kenya
Bovine leptospirosis is a worldwide problem and is of economlc importance. The losses are due to abortions, stillbirths, infertility, reduced weight galns, decreased milk production and death. The disease in cattle may also be a source of infection to man. Most detailed investigations of the disease have been carried out in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America and South East Asia. Relatively little is known of Leptospira infections in African livestock. No extensive countrywide surveys have been carried out to determine the occurrence of leptospiral serovars in Kenya. Two thousand eight hundred and sixty four bovine serum samples were collected from different ecological zones of Kenya, during the period 1980 to 1982). Each serum sample was screened against the following leptospiral serovars: L. copenhageni, L. mankarso, L. sejroe, L. autumnalis, L. wolffi, L. georgia, L. grippotyphosa, L. pomona, L. hardjo and L. canicola using the microscopic agglutination technique. positive sera were then titrated to find the end point titre. Leptospiral antibodies were detected In 41% of the bovine sera tested, 25% of the sera showing microscopic agglutination (MA) titres of 1:200 or greater. High antibody titres against L. hardjo (14.7%), L. wolffi (10.8%) and L. grippotyphosa (9.2%), were observed, respectively. Titres to the other leptospiral serovars were infrequent and in general did not exceed 1:200. L. grippotyphosa infections were found to be more prevalent in the wetter areas (zone II and zone III) while L. hardjo infections were more widespread throughout the country with a higher incidence in the drier areas (zone IV and zones V and VI). It was concluded that bovine leptospirosis has a high incidence in Kenya and control measures must, therefore, be instituted to control the disease.