Forty-two of 46 sera (91%) from turtles (Pseudemys scripta-elegans) in Georgia had microscopic agglutination titers of 200 or greater to Leptospira serotype tarassovi. Leptospires were isolated from eight of ten hamsters (80%) inoculated with surface water collected from the settling ponds of the untreated sewage disposal system in which the turtles lived. Leptospires were also isolated from 12 of 20 hamsters (60%) inoculated with turtle kidney suspensions and six of 20 hamsters (30%) inoculated with turtle cloacal suspension. Hamster brain appeared to be the best tissue for recovering leptospires since 24 of the 41 isolates (59%) from the 26 culture-positive hamsters were from the brain and 17 (41%) were from the kidney. Six of the 41 isolates from hamsters that had been injected with surface water and turtle kidney and cloacal tissue were identified as being identical to serotype tarassovi.
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