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Research: Emergence of new leptospiral serovars (family of bacteria) in American Samoa

Background

Leptospirosis has recently been discussed as an emerging infectious disease in many contexts, including changes in environmental drivers of disease transmission and the emergence of serovars.

In this paper, we report the epidemiology of leptospiral serovars from our study of human leptospirosis in American Samoa in 2010, present evidence of recent serovar emergence, and discuss the potential epidemiological and ecological implications of our findings.

Results

Human leptospirosis seroprevalence in American Samoa was 15.5% in 2010, with serological evidence that infection was caused by three predominant serovars (Hebdomadis, LT 751, and LT 1163). These serovars differed from those identified in an earlier study in 2004, and were not previously known to occur in American Samoa.

In 2010, serovars also differed in geographic distribution, with variations in seroprevalence between islands and different ecological zones within the main island.



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