Leptospirosis – An invisible threat

What is Leptospirosis?

It is a bacterial infection. A bacteria called Spirochete causes leptospirosis. The bacteria spreads through the urine of infected animals ,which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Many different kinds of wild and domestic animals carry the bacterium, like: Cattle, Pigs, Horses, Dogs, Rodents, Wild animals.

Humans can become infected through:

  • Contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals.
  • Contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.

The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. In addition, incidence of Leptospirosis infection among urban children appears to be increasing.

Prevention:

The risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals.

Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.

Signs and Symptoms:

Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including: High fever, Headache, Chills, Muscle aches, Vomiting, Jaundice, Red eyes, Abdominal pain, Diarrhoea, Rash, etc.

Treatment:

  • Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin, which should be given early in the course of the disease.
  • Intravenous antibiotics may be required for persons with more severe symptoms. Persons with symptoms suggestive of leptospirosis should contact a health care provider immediately.

 

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