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Cattle Breeding May Spread leptospirosis in Africa

According to a study conducted by University of Otago, New Zealand, in 2018, cattle breeding and rice farming are linked to major cases of fever in Africa

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which causes fevers, muscle pain, bleeding of lungs, and headaches. This infection is mainly observed in the African Continent. A study by researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand have found a link between Leptospirosis and the rice and cattle framing in Africa.

The study by University of Otago included patients from two hospitals in Moshi, Tanzania who suffered from fever. The patients were diagnosed for Leptospirosis and their behavior patterns were recorded over the past 30 days for exposure to livestock, rodents, and surface water. The study revealed that cattle breeding and rice farming proved pivotal in the spread of Leptospira infection. 30 severe cases along with 250 moderate cases were recognized where the patients were infected with the bacteria. Rodents in kitchen and food storage were also responsible for the spread. The study was published on June 7, 2018 in Public Library of Science.

Leptospira is a corkscrew shaped bacteria. It is transmitted by urine of the infected cattle and is contagious as long as the urine is moist. Birds and reptiles are also prone to this bacteria however, only mammals are capable of spreading it. Cow, sheep, swine and dogs are some of the major hosts of the bacteria. Infection in humans is due to transmission of this bacteria through food, water and soil containing urine of the infected animal.

The symptoms can lead to kidney and liver problems. 10 percent of the people in Tanzania, suffering from fever had Leptospirosis. Though it is clear that animals can carry Leptospira and spread it to other animals or directly to humans, transmission modes and the main animal reservoirs have not been described. The findings suggest that restraining Leptospira infection in cattle can prevent Leptospirosis in humans.