Critical knowledge gaps in our understanding of environmental cycling and transmission of Leptospira spp.

Veronica Barragan, Sonora Olivas, Paul Keim, Talima Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

16 Scopus citations


Exposure to soil or water contaminated with the urine of Leptospirainfected animals is the most common way in which humans contract leptospirosis. Entire populations can be at high risk of leptospirosis while working in inundated fields, when engaging in aquatic sports, or after periods of heavy rainfall. The risk of infection after contact with these environmental sources depends on the ability of Leptospira bacteria to survive, persist, and infect new hosts. Multiple variables such as soil and water pH, temperature, and even environmental microbial communities are likely to shape the environmental conditions needed by the pathogen to persist. Here we review what is known about the environmental phase of the infectious Leptospira transmission cycle and identify knowledge gaps that will serve as a guide for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01190-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Environment
  • Leptospira
  • Leptospirosis
  • Soil
  • Survival
  • Transmission
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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