WHAT IS LEPTOSPIROSIS?
It is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called as spirochete. Leptospirosis can be transmitted by many animals such as rats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and other vermin. It is transmitted through contact with infected soil and water. The soil and water is contaminated with waste products of an infected animal. People contract disease by either ingesting contaminated food or water or by broken skin and mucous membrane such as eyes, nose, sinuses, and mouth. It occurs worldwide, but is most commonly acquired in the tropical countries.
Leptospirosis is considered the most widespread disease that is transmitted by animals in the world.
WHAT ARE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LEPTOSPIROSIS?
Its symptoms begin from 2-25 days after initial direct exposure to the urine or tissue of an infected animal. This can even occur via contaminated soil or water and people who are particularly high risk of having these symptoms are the veterinarians, pet shop owners, sewage workers and farm employees.
The illness typically progresses through two phases:
- The first phase of nonspecific flu-like symptoms includes headache, muscle aches, eye pain with bright lights followed by chills and fever. Watering and redness of the eyes occurs and symptoms seem to improve by the 5th to 9th day.
- The second phase begins after a few days of feeling well. The initial symptoms recur with fever and aching with stiffness of the neck. Some patients develop serious inflammation of the nerves to the eyes, brain, spinal column, and other nerves. Right upper area, abdominal pain may occur. Less common symptoms related to the disease of the liver, lungs, kidneys, and heart.
- it also includes:
- High fever
- Muscle aches
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Red eyes
- Abdominal Pain
HOW IS LEPTOSPIROSIS DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of leptospirosis is made by culture of the bacterial organisms LEPTOSPIRA from infected blood, spinal fluid, or urine. However, many doctors must rely upon rising leptospira antibody levels in the blood in order to make the diagnosis, as the technique required to perform the culturing is delicate and difficult.
HOW IS THE TREATMENT OF LEPTOSPIROSIS? WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OF LEPTOSPIROSIS?
The treatment of leptospirosis involves high doses of antibiotics such as doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox), penicillin is most effective when initiated early in the course of the illness. Patients who are severely ill may need hospitalization for IV fluid and antibiotic treatment. Severe liver and kidney manifestations of the infection may require intensive medical care and sometimes dialysis treatment. However, even in severe case, liver and kidney function often does return after recovery from the illness. Mortality rates for severe illness with leptospirosis can range from 5% to 40% depending on the severity of organ dysfunction and the patient’s general health prior to infection.
CAN LEPTOSPIROSIS BE PREVENTED WITH A VACCINE?
A vaccine for leptospirosis is available and used in some countries in Europe and Asia. This vaccine must be given every year like a flu shot. A longer acting vaccine is being investigated in Cuba. It is not currently available in United States. Travelers who are going to an area where leptospirosis is common and who will be engaged in activities that increase likelihood of exposure can take 200mg of doxycycline per week by mouth starting before and during the time period of potential exposure. At this time according to the Leptospirosis Information Center there are no drug resistant strains of the bacteria.
- Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium.
- Leptospirosis is transmitted to humans by direct exposure to urine or tissue of an infected animal.
- Leptospirosis typically progress through two phases of nonspecific symptoms
- Leptospirosis can be diagnosed by culture of infected blood, urine, or spinal fluid as well as using antibody testing.
- Your pets may also be at risk for contracting leptospirosis.
- Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics and is rarely fatal.
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