Acute human leptospirosis in a Caribbean region of Colombia: From classic to emerging risk factors

Virginia Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Ana Castro-Cordero, Alfonso Calderón-Rangel, Eidy Martínez-Ibarra, Maria Yasnot, Piedad Agudelo-Flórez, Fernando P. Monroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Leptospirosis is a zoonosis of worldwide incidence, with a broad spectrum of health risk factors. Aim: The objective was to determine risk factors associated with acute human leptospirosis and to explore predictive variables of risk to human leptospirosis. Methods: The study was carried out in the Department of Córdoba, in the north of Colombia. We conducted a longitudinal prospective descriptive study with non-probabilistic sampling, which included 339 patients suspected of leptospirosis. Positive cases were confirmed by MAT and PCR. The determination of social and environmental risk factors was done with a survey on epidemiological and environmental variables to establish an association between cases of leptospirosis and risk factors as well as predictive variables. Results: We found 19.8% (67/339) cases of acute leptospirosis, and the seroprevalence was 27.1% (92/339). The most frequent serogroups were Sejroe, Australis, Pomona, Batavie, Pyrogenes and Grippotyphosa. We identified the following risk factors: age between 10 and 19 years (OR = 2.571; 95% CI); pig ownership (OR = 2.019; 95% CI); bathing or recreational activities in lake/lagoon (OR = 3.85; 95% CI) and in dams (OR = 3.0; 95% CI); floodings 30 days before the onset of symptoms (OR = 2.019; 95% CI), and a mean temperature of 28°C (p 0.044; 95%CI). As significant predictor variables, we identified age (10–19 years), bathing or recreational activities in the lake/lagoon, and flooding 30 days before symptoms were again evidenced. This region presents classic risk factors (pig ownership) and emerging environmental risk factors (recreational practice or bathing in a lake/lagoon and flooding 30 days before the onset of symptoms), and demographic factors such as young age (10–19 years). Conclusions: These factors are also predictors of human cases of acute leptospirosis and provide contextual information on environmental and public health that should be considered for epidemiological surveillance in this endemic area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Colombia
  • Leptospira
  • epidemiology
  • floods
  • risk factor
  • serology
  • zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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