Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which presents with a variety of clinical manifestations, ranging from Weil’s disease – fulminant hepato-renal failure, to asymptomatic infection. It has worldwide distribution but is particularly problematic in the tropics.
The pathogen in question is Leptospira which is part of the Spirochaete family. Rodents and other small mammals are the most important animal reservoirs. Animals will often be infected during infancy and maintain chronic renal infection for life, urinating out the organism to infect other mammals – including humans.
Over 3000 cases were reported in the Philippine floods of 2009, demonstrating how incidence is often higher after heavy rainfall and flooding.
The evidence base for effectiveness of antibiotic therapy is not strong, however, most patients are treated with penicillin, doxycycline, cetriaxone or azithromycin.
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