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Open AccessOpinion

Leptospirosis and Extensive Urbanization in West Africa: A Neglected and Underestimated Threat?

CBGP, IRD, CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro, University Montpellier, 34988 Montpellier, France
Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou 01BP2009, Benin
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR PRODIG, 2 rue Valette, 75005 Paris, France
Faculté de Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou BP677, Benin
Institut Pasteur, Unité Biologie des Spirochètes, 28 rue du Dr Roux, 75015 Paris, France
Institut Pasteur, Laboratoire de Bactériologie, 01BP490 Abidjan 1, Côte d’Ivoire
World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Member of Global Leptospirosis Environmental Action Network, GLEAN.
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 29;
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
PDF [5791 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


Leptospirosis affects 1 million and kills 60,000 people annually, but it remains poorly documented in Africa. We aim to describe the large West African Conurbation Corridor where the omnipresence of slums, water and close animal/human interactions may result in high leptospiral risk. Though scarce, data from this region point towards the wide circulation of pathogenic leptospires in the urban environment as well as in humans. However, because of the absence of reliable surveillance systems together with lack of awareness, the absence of reference laboratory and/or a high number of infected people showing only mild manifestations, it is likely that the burden is much higher. We believe raising awareness of leptospirosis may have a positive impact on many vulnerable African city dwellers, as the disease is a preventable and treatable. View Full-Text
Keywords: urbanization; neglected tropical diseases; Leptospira; zoonoses; public health urbanization; neglected tropical diseases; Leptospira; zoonoses; public health

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Dobigny, G.; Gauthier, P.; Houéménou, G.; Choplin, A.; Dossou, H.-J.; Badou, S.; Etougbétché, J.; Bourhy, P.; Koffi, S.; Durski, K.N.; Bertherat, E.; Picardeau, M. Leptospirosis and Extensive Urbanization in West Africa: A Neglected and Underestimated Threat? Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 29.

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