Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


(lĕp'təspīrō`sĭs), febrile disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospirae. The disease occurs in dogs, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses and is transmissible to humans. It is most common where the climate is warm and humid, soils are alkaline, and there is abundant surface water. The source of infection in farm animals is usually through pastures, drinking water, or feed, when contaminated by infected urine, and is often a work-related risk for farmers, sewer and slaughterhouse workers, and vetinarians. Infection may also occur as a result of contact with infected uterine discharges and aborted fetuses, with infected pets, or with contaminated water while swimming or during persistent flooding. In urban areas human infections may result from contact with rat urine.

In cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats, the disease is characterized by fever, depression, anemia, and abortion. Horses develop an ocular infection. In dogs the disease causes a severe kidney infection. In humans, typical symptoms include a dry cough, fever and chills, head and muscle aches, and nausea and diarrhea. It is treated with chloramphenicol, erythromycin, or other antibiotics; untreated, it may be life-threatening. Control of leptospirosis depends on the elimination of carrier animals, appropriate hygienic measures, and vaccination of susceptible animals.


An acute febrile disease of humans produced by spirochetes of many species of Leptospira. The incubation period is 6–15 days. Among the prominent features of the disease are fever, jaundice, muscle pains, headaches, hepatitis, albuminuria, and multiple small hemorrhages in the conjunctiva or skin. Meningeal involvement often occurs. The febrile illness subsides after 3–10 days. Fatal cases show hemorrhagic lesions in the kidney, liver, skin, muscles, and central nervous system.

Wild rodents are the principal reservoirs, although natural infection occurs in swine, cattle, horses, and dogs and may be transmitted to humans through these animals. Humans are infected either through contact with the urine or flesh of diseased animals, or indirectly by way of contaminated water or soil, the organisms entering the body through small breaks in the skin or mucous membrane.


Infection with spirochetes of the genus Leptospira.
References in periodicals archive ?
Vaccination is the only way to protect your dog from serious diseases like parvovirus and leptospirosis, as well as distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza.
Currently, there is a serious human outbreak of leptospirosis in Mumbai, India.
Murine typhus and leptospirosis as causes of acute undifferentiated fever, Indonesia.
Typically, leptospirosis has a biphasic disease course.
Sydiongco said at least two patients were confirmed to have died from tetanus while the health department is still trying to verify cases of leptospirosis.
We are, therefore, delighted to confirm that we will be using the new four-strain Leptospirosis vaccine for all future dog vaccinations, at no extra cost to our clients.
Many may have escaped the floods, but many could still die from leptospirosis or other diseases," Ramos said.
There are two variations of the disease - mild leptospirosis and severe leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis occurs worldwide and can be a serious public health issue in a humid tropical and subtropical country such as Malaysia.
Leptospirosis is one of the most widespread zoonotic diseases in the world.
Due to his altered liver function test and raised ures, serum leptospirosis serology test was requested initially during his work up which surprisingly turned out to be positive.