Chest | Pathology | Leptospirosis (Disease)


Leptospirosis, an infectious disease that affects humans and animals, is considered the most common zoonosis in the world. Leptospirosis is often referred to as swineherds disease, swamp fever, or mud fever. The organism enters the body when mucous membranes or abraded skin come in contact with contaminated environmental sources.

Studies in sewer workers show greater prevalence of leptospira antibodies than in controls. Infected rats may contaminate sewer water. Partial or total immersion in mud and water plays a role in facilitating infection in sewer workers and rice field workers. Milkers may be splattered in the face, causing subsequent infection via the conjunctivae. Infection of military troops occurs as a result of direct exposure to infected urine or indirect contact with contaminated soil and water. Seroprevalence surveys of livestock workers have shown ranges of positive antibody titers at 8-29%.

Causes and Risk factors

The infection causes a systemic illness that often leads to renal and hepatic dysfunction. Occupational exposure probably accounts for 30-50% of human cases. The main occupational groups at risk include farm workers, veterinarians, pet shop owners, field agricultural workers, abattoir workers, plumbers, meat handlers and slaughterhouse workers, coal miners, workers in the fishing industry, military troops, milkers, and sewer workers.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Leptospirosis is treated primarily with antimicrobial therapy. In uncomplicated infections that do not require hospitalization, oral doxycycline has been shown to decrease duration of fever and most symptoms. Hospitalized patients should be treated with intravenous penicillin G therapy, the treatment of choice. ...