The presence of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in the environment poses threats to human health. The aim of this study was to detect and characterize Leptospira spp. from environmental samples. A total of 144 samples comprised of 72 soil and 72 water samples were collected from markets and recreational areas in a north-eastern state in Malaysia. Samples were cultured on Ellinghausen and McCullough modified by Johnson and Harris media. Leptospires were positive in 22.9% (n = 33) of the isolates. Based on partial sequences of 16S rRNA, a pathogenic leptospire, Leptospira alstonii (n = 1/33), was identified in 3% of the isolates followed by intermediate leptospire (L. wolffii, n = 1/33, and L. licerasiae, n = 7/33) and nonpathogenic leptospire, L. meyeri (n = 22/33) in 24.2% and 66.7%, respectively. This study demonstrates the presence of a clinically significant pathogenic L. alstonii in the environments which could pose health risks to the occupants and visitors.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.