Background: The burden of human leptospirosis in Uganda is unknown. We estimated the seroprevalence of Leptospira antibodies, probable acute/recent leptospirosis, and risk factors for seropositivity in humans in rural Western Uganda. Methodology and Principal Findings: 359 non-pregnant adults visiting the Kikuube and Kigorobya Health Centers were sequentially recruited during March and April 2014. A health history survey and serum were collected from consented participants. Overall, 69% reported having fever in the past year, with 49% reporting malaria, 14% malaria relapse, 6% typhoid fever, 3% brucellosis, and 0% leptospirosis. We tested sera by microscopic agglutination test (MAT) against eight Leptospira serovars representing seven serogroups. Leptospira seroprevalence was 35% (126/359; 95%CI 30.2–40.3%) defined as MAT titer ≥ 1:100 for any serovar. The highest prevalence was against L. borgpetersenii Nigeria (serogroup Pyrogenes) at 19.8% (71/359; 95%CI 15.9–24.4%). The prevalence of probable recent leptospirosis (MAT titer ≥1:800) was 1.9% (95%CI 0.9–4.2%) and uniquely related to serovar Nigeria (serogroup Pyrogenes). Probable recent leptospirosis was associated with having self-reported malaria within the past year (p = 0.048). Higher risk activities included skinning cattle (n = 6) with 12.3 higher odds (95%CI 1.4–108.6; p = 0.024) of Leptospira seropositivity compared with those who had not. Participants living in close proximity to monkeys (n = 229) had 1.92 higher odds (95%CI 1.2–3.1; p = 0.009) of seropositivity compared with participants without monkeys nearby. Conclusions/Significance: The 35% prevalence of Leptospira antibodies suggests that exposure to leptospirosis is common in rural Uganda, in particular the Nigeria serovar (Pyrogenes serogroup). Leptospirosis should be a diagnostic consideration in febrile illness and “smear-negative malaria” in rural East Africa.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Dreyfus et al.