Sciensano & Leptospirosis

Last updated on 22-3-2023 by Charlien Hupko


The National Reference Laboratory for Leptospirosis performs serological (microagglutination test-MAT) and molecular (PCR) diagnostics on animals and environmental samples (on request, for example, to identify sources of infection). It can also perform PCR tests on the serum and blood of patients with suspected leptospirosis on request, if the clinical signs have appeared for less than 10 days. 

For research and collaboration purposes, the laboratory can perform bacterial culture and molecular typing of positive cases by PCR. To maintain its expertise, it organizes and participates in national, European and international aptitude tests. 

Epidemiological surveillance in animals

The laboratory is involved in the passive surveillance of animal leptospirosis and in the search for new tools to enable diagnosis in domestic animals. The laboratory is also often involved in studies at the animal-human interface and in the monitoring of wild reservoirs. 

Sciensano actively participates as a board member of the European Leptospirosis Society.

Epidemiological surveillance in humans

The role of Sciensano’s Epidemiology of infectious diseases department is:

  • to describe the epidemiology of leptospirosis in Belgium (in terms of age, sex, geographical location and country of infection)
  • to follow-up trends over time
  • to identify possible risk factors

The data is collected by the National Reference Laboratory of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp and through mandatory notifications

The results are presented in an annual report, or in the ‘Other Publications’ section below.

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