Failure to demonstrate the maintenance of leptospires by free-living carnivores

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Free-living members of the Mustelidae and feral cats (Felis catus) inhabiting farmland in the southern half of the North Island of New Zealand were examined for evidence of leptospiral infection. Nine stoats (Mustela erminea), 9 ferrets (Putorious putorious) and 4 weasels (Mustela nivalis) showed no serological or bacteriological evidence of infection. No leptospires were isolated from the kidneys of 11 feral cats but 2 animals had low titres to pomona and ballum respectively. All animals examined were from ecosystems where ballum infection was endemic in rodents; thus predator-chain transmission does not appear to be an important natural route of transmission for this serovar.

Keywords: Bacterial; Cat; Epidemiology; Leptospirosis; Wildlife

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1981

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