The excretion of Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in the urine of cattle was studied in naturally and experimentally infected animals. Five of 15 naturally infected animals with microscopic agglutination test titres of > or = 1:300 shed leptospires for between 28 and 40 weeks. Twenty yearling heifers, experimentally infected by either the supraconjunctival or intrauterine routes, shed leptospires for from eight to 60 weeks; the 10 infected via the uterus shed L interrogans serovar hardjo for a mean of 26 weeks (range eight to 54 weeks) and the 10 infected by the supraconjunctival route shed the organism for a mean of 32 weeks (range 12 to 60 weeks). The results suggest that natural infection results in more prolonged excretion than experimental infection. No intermittent or seasonal excretion of the organism was observed. After the initial experimental infection, large numbers of leptospires were shed in the urine for several weeks, and thereafter there was a progressive decline in the number of organisms shed.
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