Cross-sectional serosurvey of Leptospira species among slaughter pigs, goats, and sheep in Uganda


Leptospira are a group of bacteria, including pathogenic types that cause leptospirosis. In Uganda, Leptospira exposure has been reported in humans, with domesticated animals being speculated as the source. However, comparable evidence of Leptospira prevalence and circulating serovars/serogroups in animals is only documented for cattle, and dogs. Our study determined Leptospira seroprevalence, associated risk factors and serogroups circulating among slaughtered pigs, goats, and sheep in Uganda.

During an 11-month cross-sectional survey in selected slaughter facilities in three regions of Uganda, we collected blood from 926 pigs, 347 goats, and 116 sheep. The age, sex, breed, and origin of each sampled animal were noted. The samples were tested for anti-Leptospira antibodies using the microscopic agglutination test, based on a panel of 12 serovars belonging to 12 serogroups.

Leptospira seroprevalence was 26.67% (247/926, 95%CI 23.92–29.61) among pigs, and 21.81% (101/463, 95%CI 18.29–25.80) in goats and sheep (small ruminants). L. interrogans Australis and L. kirschneri Grippotyphosa were the commonest serovars among pigs, as was L. borgpeterseniiTarassovi in small ruminants. Pigs sourced from the Eastern (Odds Ratio [OR] = 2.82, 95%CI 1.84–4.30) and Northern (OR = 3.56, 95%CI 2.52–5.02) regions were more likely to be seropositive, compared to those from the Central region. For small ruminants, being female (OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.69–4.57) and adult (OR 4.47, 95% CI 1.57–18.80) was significantly more associated with Leptospira seropositivity.

Detection of a moderate seroprevalence, and several Leptospira serogroups among pigs, sheep, and goats from all regions of Uganda, supports existing reports in cattle and dogs, and implies widespread Leptospira exposure in domestic animals in Uganda. These findings may inform future programs for the control of leptospirosis in livestock in Uganda.


Alinaitwe, L., Aturinda, C.J., Lubega, A., Kivali, V., Bugeza, J., Wainaina, M., Richter, M.H., Hoona, J.J., Roesel, K., Mayer-Scholl, A., Cook, E.A.J., Kankya, C. and Dürr, S. 2024. Cross-sectional serosurvey of <i>Leptospira</i> species among slaughter pigs, goats, and sheep in Uganda. <i>PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases</i> 18(3): e0012055.


  • Alinaitwe, Lordrick
  • Aturinda, C.J.
  • Lubega, A.
  • Kivali, Velma
  • Bugeza, James
  • Wainaina, M.
  • Richter, M.H.
  • Hoona, J.J.
  • Roesel, Kristina
  • Mayer-Scholl, A.
  • Cook, Elizabeth A.J.
  • Kankya, C.
  • Dürr, S.