Multihost, multistrain Leptospira Dynamics

Leptospirosis is a neglected, bacterial zoonosis with worldwide distribution, but primarily a disease of poverty. Rodents are thought to be the primary reservoir, but several pathogenic serovars (> 200) of Leptospira bacteria exist, and a variety of species may act as reservoirs for these serovars. Human infection is the result of direct or indirect contact with Leptospira bacteria in the urine of infected animal hosts, primarily livestock, dogs, and rodents.

Urban slums often have poor or substandard housing infrastructure, inadequate or non-existent sewer systems, and impoverished populace. These conditions attract and support populations of rodents and free-roaming dogs in and around urban slums.There is increasing evidence that dogs and dog-adapted serovar Canicola play an important role in the burden of leptospirosis in humans in marginalized urban communities. What is needed is a more thorough understanding of the transmission dynamics of Leptospira in such marginalized urban communities, specifically the relative importance of dogs and rodents in the transmission of Leptospira to humans. This understanding will be vital for identifying meaningful intervention strategies.

We have developed an agent-based model (MHMSLeptoDy) of Leptospirosis with two animal hosts, dogs and rodents, and humans in an urban slum. This work builds upon data collected from urban slum communities in Los Rios Region, Chile [Munoz-Zanzi, 2014]. Model published here:

Aniruddha Belsare
Aniruddha Belsare
Assistant Professor of Disease Ecology

My research interests include wildlife disease ecology, disease modeling and wildlife medicine.