Sunday, November 03, 2019

Symptoms and transmission of leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease that is caused by spirochete bacteria in the genus Leptospira. There are 10 pathogenic species, and more than 250 pathogenic serovars. Pathogenic leptospires belong to the species Leptospira interrogans, which is subdivided into more than 200 serovars with 25 serogroups.

It is a zoonosis of worldwide distribution, endemic mainly in countries with humid subtropical or tropical climates and has epidemic potential. Leptospirosis is a severe, water-borne disease transmitted from animals to humans, with tens of millions of human cases worldwide each year.

Leptospirosis is also known as “the Great Mimicker” and may be overlooked and underdiagnosed due to its varied clinical presentations. Fatality rates can range as high as 20 to 25 percent in some regions, and it is particularly prevalent in tropical countries where poor people live under highly crowded condition, or in rural areas where people are exposed to water contaminated by the urine of Leptospira.

Feral and domestic animals constitute the reservoir of the agent, transmitted through contact of mucous membranes or (broken) skin with water (swimming or immersion), moist soil or vegetation contaminated with the urine of infected animals; occasional infection occurs through ingestion/inhalation of food/droplet aerosols of fluids contaminated by urine.

Outbreaks of leptospirosis tend to occur after heavy rainfall or flooding in endemic areas, especially areas with poor housing and sanitation conditions.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, myalgia (typically of the calves and lower back), conjunctival suffusion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cough, and sometimes a skin rash.
Symptoms and transmission of leptospirosis

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