Leptospirosis is the infection caused by the spirochaete leptospira.

Transmission is classically by exposure of skin/mucous membranes to contaminated rats urine, for example swimming in rivers/ falling out of boats. This is known as Weil’s disease

Transmission may also be from cattle to humans – this is the Hardjo form of leptospirosis. 

Incubation period is 2 to 20 days. 

  • Fever
  • Headache 
  • Myalgia
  • Arthralgia
  • Nausea/vomiting 
  • Jaundice 
  • Photophobia

Complications of leptospirosis, which usually occur 5 to 10 days after infection, include:
  • Renal failure 
  • Hepatic failure
  • Aseptic meningitis 
  • Pulmonary haemorrhage

Diagnosis may be by culture, PCR or serology. 

Treatment is with doxycycline, ceftriaxone, amoxicillin, erythromycin or benzylpenicillin. 

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