is a zoonotic disease (source of transmission in an animal) caused by bacteria
called spirochete, known as Leptospira,
whose natural reservoir
is a variety of both wild and domestic animals,
including rodents, insectivores, dogs, cattle, pigs and horses. It is
also known as Weil's disease
the one who first recognized the disease.
Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but it is most
commonly acquired in the tropics. The Leptospira
bacteria can infect both animals and humans. The bacteria are excreted
Human infection occurs through direct contact with the urine of an
infected animal or by contact with a urine-contaminated environment
as water, soil or plants. Once the bacteria gains access into the body, it spreads
rapidly within 24 hours, causing damage to almost every organ.
Leptospirosis typically progresses through two phases of non-specific symptoms
. Initial symptoms of the disease include high fever,
severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain,
jaundice, hemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea and
rash. The disease is usually self-limiting i.e. the
patients who do not develop complications in the liver (i.e. they develop
jaundice) usually recover. However 5% - 30% of untreated patients die due to
involvement of the kidney - acute renal failure.
Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics
like penicillin, ampicillin, or azithromycin. The prognosis of
leptospirosis is generally good. It is rarely fatal.