Detection of leptospires in bovine semen by polymerase chain reaction
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Objective: In view of the considerable importance of venereal transmission of bovine leptospirosis, the objective of the present study was to compare the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), culture/isolation and serology to detect leptospire infection in bovine semen. Design: Blood for serologic examination and semen for bacterial culture and PCR were collected from 20 bulls at artificial insemination centres in Brazil. Each animal was sampled twice for serology. Result: Forty-five percent (9/20) of the serum samples collected showed agglutinin titers to serovar hardjo in the first sample and 25% (5/20) had agglutinin titers to serovar hardjo in the second sample. Eighty percent (16/20) of semen samples were positive by PCR. Leptospires could not be isolated from any of the semen samples examined. Conclusion: Polymerase chain reaction can be a method of great potential for the detection of leptospires at artificial insemination centres.