Seroprevalence of Leptospirosis in the Feral Cat Population of St. Kitts
Leptospirosis is endemic in most of the Caribbean region, and it is considered to be one the most widespread zoonotic diseases in the world. In cats and dogs, the disease is caused by many different serovars. Cats and dogs have frequent interactions with other animal species including humans, thus they are a potential reservoir for transmission. The objective of this study was to evaluate the seroprevalence of Leptospira sp. in cats in St Kitts. During the periods of February 2015 through December 2015, serum, whole blood and urine were collected from a number of feral cats in Saint Kitts. The standard microscopic agglutination test (MAT) was utilized to determine which feral cats were positive for various serovars: Icterohemorrhagiae, Ballum, Bataviae, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Ictero, and Pomona. Polymerase chain immunoreactivity (PCR) was performed on urine samples. Out of the 103 feral cats tested, seven cats were MAT positive to one serovar. The overall seroprevalence was estimated at 6.9 % (Confidence Interval: 1.9 % - 11.9 %). One of the MAT positive cats also tested PCR positive. Although the seroprevalence is low, this study detected an exposure of cats to Leptospira spp. in St Kitts. Our study is the first published seroprevalence survey of Leptospirosis in cats on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts.