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Serological surveys in many laboratories around the world have indicated that leptospirosis occurs frequently in horses, and can be caused by a wide variety of Leptospira serovars. The infections are usually subclinical, although the reported clinical features of acute leptospirosis include pyrexia, depression, anorexia and jaundice, while chronic infection may be associated with abortion, stillbirth, premature born foals and equine recurrent uveitis (Ellis and others 1983a, Ellis and O'Brien, 1988, Whitwell and others 2009).
Recent studies on animal leptospiral infection in Poland have recorded evidence of widespread infection in several species of farm animals (Krawczyk 2000, 2005, Wasinski 2005, 2007, Salwa and others 2007, Wasinski and Pejsak 2010, Czopowicz and others 2011). However, information on equine leptospirosis remains scarce. The only seroprevalence studies are those of Zwierz and others (1965), Anusz and others (1996) and Sobiech and Babicz-Bury (1997). In those studies, serology was performed on only a small number of horses with a limited panel of antigens.
In the present study, we have aimed to estimate seroprevalence of Leptospira species in the population of horses in northern Poland by using a range of 17 live antigens representative of those serogroups found in Europe, plus the ones commonly found in animals elsewhere, namely: Leptospira interrogans serovar: Icterohaemorrhagiae, Pomona, Canicola, Australis, Bratislava, Autumnalis, Hebdomadis, Pyrogenes, …