Current immunological and molecular tools for leptospirosis: diagnostics, vaccine design, and biomarkers for predicting severity.

August 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2015 Jan 16;14:2.

Rajapakse S1, Rodrigo C2, Handunnetti SM3, Fernando SD4.

Author information

1Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, 25, Kynsey Road, Colombo, 08, Sri Lanka.

2Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, 25, Kynsey Road, Colombo, 08, Sri Lanka.

3Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

4Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Leptospirosis is a zoonotic spirochaetal illness that is endemic in many tropical countries. The research base on leptospirosis is not as strong as other tropical infections such as malaria.

However, it is a lethal infection that can attack many vital organs in its severe form, leading to multi-organ dysfunction syndrome and death.

There are many gaps in knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of leptospirosis and the role of host immunity in causing symptoms.

This hinders essential steps in combating disease, such as developing a potential vaccine. Another major problem with leptospirosis is the lack of an easy to perform, accurate diagnostic tests. Many clinicians in resource limited settings resort to clinical judgment in diagnosing leptospirosis.

This is unfortunate, as many other diseases such as dengue, hanta virus, rickettsial infections, and even severe bacterial sepsis, can mimic leptospirosis. Another interesting problem is the prediction of disease severity at the onset of the illness.

The majority of patients recover from leptospirosis with only a mild febrile illness, while a few others have severe illness with multi-organ failure.

Clinical features are poor predictors of potential severity of infection, and therefore the search is on for potential biomarkers that can serve as early warnings for severe disease.

This review concentrates on these three important aspects of this neglected tropical disease: diagnostics, developing a vaccine, and potential biomarkers to predict disease severity.



Entry filed under: Antimicrobianos, Bacterias, Bacteriemias, Biológicos, Epidemiología, F.O.D, Infecciones emergentes, Infecciones respiratorias, Metodos diagnosticos, REVIEWS, Sepsis, Update, Zoonosis.

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