What is Leptospirosis ?


Leptospirosis (lep–to–spy–ro–sis), also known as (Weil’s disease) is a potentially serious bacterial illness. Leptospirosis can affect many parts of the body and equally affects both humans and animals. Of the 100 serotypes of leptospirosis only L. icterohaemorrhagiae, L. hardjo and L. canicola have been shown to cause human disease.

Leptospirosis is essentially animal infections by spirocheats – Leptospira that affects humans under certain environmental condition. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs. Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases.

Over the years two distinct epidemiological patterns have evolved, the rural and the urban pattern. In cities rodents that infest the sewage systems and free living animals act as carriers even a mild rain fall chokes the poorly maintain drainage systems flooding the roads and causing upsurges of leptospirosis during monsoon. In rural form the outbreaks are associated with agricultural event such as seeding, planting, and harvesting.

Leptospirosis is grossly under reported, this is mainly due to lack of awareness about the disease among medical professionals and difficulties in laboratory diagnosis of the disease.