Leptospires of the Hebdomadis serogroup have been isolated from a wide range of vertebrate hosts throughout the world (Communicable Diseases Center, 1966 and 1973). Only two serovars, and , belonging to this serogroup are known to be present in New Zealand.

appears to be maintained by cattle (Johnson, Allan and Dennett, 1974; Ellis and Michna, 1977; Hellstrom, 1978), whereas has a wider host spectrum. is endemic in possums () in New Zealand (Hathaway, Blackmore and Marshall, 1978) and in Australia (Durfee and Presidente, 1977); the original strain, 1627 Burgas, was isolated from a patient in Bulgaria (Babudieri and Mateew, 1961; Manev and Siromashkova, 1970), and subsequent strains were isolated from cattle and pigs in the Soviet Union (Semenova, Soloshenko and Ananyin, 1965).

and are antigenically similar and the infections that they produce are not easily differentiated serologically (Hellstrom, 1978; Hathaway and Marshall, 1979). At present, the usual means of differentiating and is agglutinin absorption, which is not a routine procedure in most diagnostic laboratories.

Several serovars of various serogroups are known to be haemolytic; haemolytic activity has not been found in any serovar of the Hebdomadis serogroup (Russell, 1956; Kmety and Bakoss, 1961; Kasârov, 1970; Hodges, 1974) except serovar , strain Marsh (Alexander , 1956). This report describes the in-vitro haemolytic activity of for human, bovine, ovine and possum red blood cells (RBC). This activity may be used as the basis of a simple test for the preliminary differentiation of and isolates.


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