Leptospires are widespread spirochete bacteria that infect mammals, including rodents and humans. We investigated the presence of Leptospira antibodies in two species of rodents from San Pedro River Basin (SPRB) in northwestern Mexico as part of the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) monitoring plan and the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) reintroduction program. We sampled a total of 26 black-tailed prairie dogs and three beavers during October–November 2015. We detected antibodies against Leptospira spp. by microagglutination test in 12 (46%) prairie dogs and in two (67%) beavers. The antibody titers for seropositive rodents varied from 1:100 to 1:200, but none of the animals showed clinical signs of disease. We found seven Leptospira spp. serogroups (Autumnalis, Australis, Bataviae, Canicola, Celledoni, Grippotyphosa, and Sejroe) circulating in rodent species in SPRB. We did not find any differences between sex and age concerning Leptospira-positive rodents. Our findings suggest the presence of endemic cycles and potential risks of Leptospira infection in both species from SPRB. Although the impact of this infection on threatened species remains unclear, human activities and environmental stress might facilitate the emergence or reemergence of leptospirosis disease as has been reported elsewhere.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4