Prevalence of anti-Leptospira antibodies and associated risk factors in the Malaysian refugee communities

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    • Publication Information:
      BMC, 2021.
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      Abstract Background Refugees in Malaysia, who are afflicted by poverty, conflict and poor health, are vulnerable to a range of zoonotic infections in the deprived environmental and social conditions under which they live. Exposure to infections such as leptospirosis, for which rodents are primary hosts, is of particular concern. Methods A wellness program was conducted to determine the presence of antibodies against Leptospira (seroprevalence) in 11 refugee community schools and centers in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. A total of 433 samples were assessed for IgG and IgM antibodies against Leptospira, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Results Overall Leptospira seroprevalence was 24.7%, with 3.0% being seropositive for anti-Leptospira IgG and 21.7% for anti-Leptospira IgM. Factors significantly associated with overall Leptospira seroprevalence included: age, ethnicity, pet ownership, knowledge of disease and awareness of disease fatality. For IgM seroprevalence, significant risk factors included sex, ethnicity, eating habits with hands, pet ownership, the presence of rats, walking in bare feet and water recreation visits. Conclusions These findings highlight the need for improvements in health and well-being among the refugee community through disease awareness programs and provision of healthy behavior programs, particularly in hygiene and sanitation through community engagement activities.
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      electronic resource
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