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(lĕp'təspīrō`sĭs), febrile disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospirae. The disease may affect dogs, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses and is also 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 ?
There are about one million severe cases of leptospirosis and 60,000 deaths caused by the disease every year worldwide.
Leptospirosis is transmitted by contact of abraded skin or mucous membranes with water or soil contaminated with urine from reservoir animals, such as rodents (2).
Suspected leptospirosis cases were defined as the occurrence of fever with at least two nonspecific symptoms (myalgia, headache, jaundice, conjunctival suffusion, or maculopapular or petechial rash), or at least one diagnosis indicating severe illness (aseptic meningitis, renal insufficiency, pulmonary complications, electrocardiogram abnormalities, gastrointestinal symptoms, hemorrhage, or jaundice with acute renal failure) during August 13-September 21, 2016 in a patient exposed to floodwater (4).
Leptospirosis can lead to weakness, fever and kidney failure in sea lions, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
One step toward filling those knowledge gaps came with the International Workshop of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute/ FIOCRUZ for Leptospirosis Research Based on Country Needs and 5th Global Leptospirosis Environmental Action Network (GLEAN) meeting, which was held in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 10-12 November 2015.
This shedding intermittency may have strong implications for the control of leptospirosis on livestock, mainly on the strategic decision about employing or not antimicrobial agents.
The public is strongly advised to avoid contracting leptospirosis.
La leptospirosis tiene distribucion mundial, siendo mas comun en los paises tropicales y subtropicales de alta humedad, donde se dan las facilidades para su transmision (Acha y Szyfres, 2001; Artiushin et al.
For the current study 18 leptospirosis ELISA positive horses were selected, along with 9 healthy horses (n=27).
Leptospirosis was diagnosed by Lepto Dri-Dot or ELISA (IgM antibodies to Leptospira) or Leptospira PCR when they presented in first 4 days.
Various studies have shown that Malaysia is also an endemic country for leptospirosis, with an increased number of reported cases and a significant number of deaths over the past decade [4, 5, 6].
Renal magnesium wasting and tubular dysfunction in leptospirosis.