Leptospirosis: Mode, Sign Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a spirochaetal infection. It affects wild and domestic animals worldwide, especially rodents, but is rarely transmitted to humans.


Mode of transmission of leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is transmitted when infected animal urine or other excretions come into contact with skin abrasions.

Epidemiological summary Of Leptospirosis

Reliable figures on morbidity and mortality related to leptospirosis are generally lacking and the disease
is often overlooked or underreported.

The International Leptospirosis Society (ILS) had its first meeting in France in 1996 and attempts are currently being made to obtain epidemiological data.

Cases occur throughout Europe, especially in rural areas where close contact with rodents is possible.

Incubation Period Of Leptospirosis

Incubation period is 2–17 days.

Sign Symptoms Of Leptospirosis

• A flu-like illness with headache, fever, myalgia and arthralgia presents.

• Occasionally a more severe form of the disease (Weil’s disease) occurs, presenting with jaundice, renal
failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Weil’s disease has a fatality rate of 10–20%.

Risk Factors

Farmers, veterinary surgeons, sewerage workers, fish farmers and those bathing or participating in water sports in contaminated water are particularly at risk.


Leptospires can be cultured from blood,
cerebrospinal fluid or urine.

Treatment Of Leptospirosis

Mild forms of the disease require no treatment. In more severe cases, antibiotics (Doxycycline, Amoxicillin or Ampicillin) should be administered
early to shorten the duration of early disease and to limit renal damage in extremely ill individuals.

Delayed antibiotic treatment after complications have occurred may be of some help.

Prevention Of Leptospirosis

• Avoid swimming in lakes and rivers.

• Those who may be exposed should: wear pro-tective clothing and footwear; cover cuts with waterproof dressings; and wear gloves if coming into contact with or handling rodents.

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