Research – Persistence of Leptospira borgpetersenii Serovar Hardjo in Refrigerated Raw Milk: A Transmission Risk of Leptospirosis to Humans


Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo (LH) is an important infectious agent of reproduction pathologies and lactation decline in cattle, with a possible zoonotic role. To figure out the potential zoonotic risk for human raw-milk consumption, the present study aims at assessing the persistence and viability of LH in refrigerated raw milk over a 10-day period, which is set as the maximum time range for raw-milk domestic consumption. A negative sample of fresh raw milk was contaminated with an LH strain (2 × 108 Leptospires/mL) and analyzed by a rrs (16S) gene targeting real-time PCR (rPCR) protocol for LH DNA at days 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, and 10. Seven aliquots of the same sampling time were inoculated into a semisolid EMJH media for bacterial culture. All aliquots tested positive in both rPCR and culture, which demonstrates that raw milk does not alter the detectability and viability of LH, respectively. The analytical sensitivity (LoD, limit of detection) determined for the rPCR (103 Leptospires/mL) was repeatable during the study, whereas it gradually decreased when it came to the bacterial culture. This study demonstrates that bovine raw milk might be a potential vehicle of infection by LH, even when storage conditions are strictly respected. View Full-Text

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