Leptospirosis is a widespread emerging bacterial zoonosis. As the transmission is believed to be predominantly waterborne, human incidence is expected to increase in conjunction with global climate change and associated extreme weather events. Providing more accurate predictions of human leptospirosis requires more detailed information on animal reservoirs that are the source of human infection. We evaluated the prevalence of Leptospira in vertebrates worldwide and its association with taxonomy, geographic region, host biology, ambient temperature, and precipitation patterns. A multivariate regression analysis with a meta-analysis-like approach was used to analyze compiled data extracted from 300 Leptospira-related peer reviewed papers. A fairly uniform Leptospira infection prevalence of about 15% was found in the majority of mammalian families. Higher prevalence was frequently associated with species occupying urban habitats, and this may explain why climatic factors were not significantly correlated with prevalence as consistently as expected. Across different approaches of the multiple regression analyses, the variables most frequently correlated with Leptospira infection prevalence were the host's ability to swim, minimum ambient temperature, and methodologic quality of the study. Prevalence in carnivores was not associated with any climatic variable, and the importance of environmental risk factors were indicated to be of lesser consequence in nonhuman mammals. The dataset is made available for further analysis.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3