Prevalence of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis: a study of rodents and shrews in cultivated and fallow land, Morogoro rural district, Tanzania
Leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis are among understudied zoonotic diseases that are also not diagnosed routinely in Tanzania. Humans get leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis through contact with an environment contaminated with Leptospira bacteria and Toxoplasma protozoa from reservoir hosts, which are rodents and cats, respectively. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Leptospira and Toxoplasma infections in rodents and shrews in Mikese area of Morogoro Rural District in eastern Tanzania. A total of 89 rodents and one shrew from cultivated and fallow land were tested for leptospirosis using six Leptospira serovars: Sokoine, Kenya, Canicola, Lora, Hebdomadis and Pomona. Toxoplasmosis was determined in 46 rodents brain smears. The prevalence of leptospirosis was 25.8%, and Leptospira serovar Sokoine was the most prevalent serovar (16.9%). Toxoplasma was detected in one rodent (2.17%) individual while three rodent individuals had Toxoplasma-like parasites hence were considered suspect positive. Findings suggest potential existence of human leptospirosis which needs to be further investigated. Public awareness of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis should be promoted and their diagnosis considered in patients in health care facilities.