Leptospirosis in the Azores: The rodent connection
The Azores are Portuguese islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. The culture is very agrarian with a large cattle industry. Unfortunately, there is a chronic leptospirosis problem within the people, livestock, companion animals, and wildlife of the Azores. Introduced rodents play a significant role as maintenance hosts of this disease. We review the situation and make recommendations for reducing the occurrence and hazard of leptospirosis in the Azores. Areas addressed include the need for a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease and the role of rodents, development of an effective rodent control program, improvements in farm practices and animal husbandry, and improvements in the Azores infrastructure to effectively reduce the leptospirosis hazard.