ISOLATION of leptospires from blood culture is likely to be successful only during the first week of the illness. The laboratory diagnosis of human and animal leptospirosis otherwise has to be based on serological tests. Microscopic and macroscopic agglutination, complement fixation (CF), haemagglutination and direct and indirect immunofluorescence are all tests that can be applied to the detection of leptospiral antibodies (Turner, 1968). The interpretation of the results of these tests at different times can indicate whether a patient's illness is or has been due to acute leptospirosis. The titres of antibody and the classes of immunoglobulin directed to the various leptospiral strains used in the tests may indicate the serogroup if not the serotype (serovar) of the infecting strain.


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