Leptospirosis is endemic in the Andaman Islands, often occurring as outbreaks during the post-monsoon period. Pulmonary involvement is common and associated with high morbidity and mortality. During the investigation of an outbreak in North Andaman in 1996 an isolate was recovered from the blood of a patient with fever, headache, body aches and haemoptysis with respiratory distress as presenting symptoms. The isolate was characterized using the cross-agglutination absorption test (CAAT) and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The isolate showed typical morphology and characteristic motility of the genus Leptospira. Growth was inhibited at 13 °C and in the presence of 8-azaguanine. The isolate could not be identified with grouping sera representing 25 serogroups, CAAT and mAbs. A new serovar of a new serogroup is proposed. Genetic characterization using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by sequencing of the PCR product and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting (RAPD) showed that the isolate was genetically similar to L. interrogans sensu stricto.
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