A systematic review of human and animal leptospirosis in the Pacific Islands reveals pathogen and reservoir diversity

Published on May 14, 2018in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases3.885
· DOI :10.1371/JOURNAL.PNTD.0006503
Vanina Guernier17
Estimated H-index: 17
(WHO: World Health Organization),
Cyrille Goarant28
Estimated H-index: 28
(Pasteur Institute)
+ 1 AuthorsColleen L. Lau21
Estimated H-index: 21
(ANU: Australian National University)
Background The Pacific Islands have environmental conditions highly favourable for transmission of leptospirosis, a neglected zoonosis with highest incidence in the tropics, and Oceania in particular. Recent reports confirm the emergence and outbreaks of leptospirosis in the Pacific Islands, but the epidemiology and drivers of transmission of human and animal leptospirosis are poorly documented, especially in the more isolated and less developed islands. Methodology/Principal findings We conducted a systematic review of human and animal leptospirosis within 25 Pacific Islands (PIs) in Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, as well as Easter Island and Hawaii. We performed a literature search using four international databases for articles published between January 1947 and June 2017. We further included grey literature available on the internet. We identified 148 studies describing leptospirosis epidemiology, but the number of studies varied significantly between PIs. No data were available from four PIs. Human leptospirosis has been reported from 13 PIs, with 63% of all studies conducted in Hawaii, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Animal leptospirosis has been investigated in 19 PIs and from 14 host species, mainly pigs (18% of studies), cattle (16%) and dogs (11%). Only 13 studies provided information on both human and animal leptospirosis from the same location. Serology results were highly diverse in the region, both in humans and animals. Conclusions/Significance Our study suggests that, as in other tropical regions, leptospirosis is widespread in the PIs while showing some epidemiological heterogeneity. Data are scarce or absent from many PIs. Rodents, cattle, pigs and dogs are all likely to be important carriers, but the relative importance of each animal species in human infection needs to be clarified. Epidemiological surveys with appropriate sampling design, pathogen typing and data analysis are needed to improve our understanding of transmission patterns and to develop effective intervention strategies.
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