Swine act as both maintenance and incidental hosts of pathogenic Leptospira
spp. Here, a serological test was performed on 131,660 pig sera collected between 2002 and 2017 from 4715 farms in Northern Italy. A positivity rate of 13.05% was determined. Australis was the most frequently identified serogroup (77.29%), followed by Pomona (18.47%), Tarassovi (1.51%) and Icterohaemorrhagie (1.40%). Culture isolation and real-time Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were carried out on 347 kidneys and 470 clinical samples, respectively. Overall, 133 strains were cultured successfully and 43 randomly chosen isolates were identified as serogroup Pomona. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) revealed that 41 isolates and 8 DNA extracted from biological samples belonged to sequence type 140. Using a multiple-locus, variable-number tandem repeat analysis, 43 samples produced identical profiles but, after 2014, three new Leptospira interrogans
serogroup Pomona genotypes were observed. Interestingly, two isolates showed new MLST profiles and an unclassified identification by monoclonal antibodies. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing clustered them into L. kirschneri
species and a core genome MLST analysis revealed an allelic identity of 96% compared with Mozdok strains. Genotyping allowed us to discriminate leptospires and to identify new emerging strains. The accurate identification of infective strains is required for formulating preventive methods and intervention strategies.
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