Dr George E Moore, Purdue University
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by exposure to urine from an infected animal, usually wildlife. It affects humans and animals worldwide, causing life-threatening kidney, liver and blood disease. Although the risk of infection in dogs may have increased in the past decade, assessing the prevalence of this disease is complicated by a lack of large scale epidemiologic data, limitations of diagnostic tests, differences among the various strains of the bacteria, and limited understanding of the immune response of infected dogs. This study will investigate the frequency and distribution of leptospirosis infection in dogs throughout the United States and will determine the molecular characteristics of the different bacteria strains. While the molecular information will help improve diagnostic tests and vaccines, the epidemiologic data will help manage the risk and spread of this deadly disease.