Table of Contents
Leptospirosis? It’s Easy If You Do Solve It Smart
What is leptospirosis
It is a zoonotic bacterial infection caused by the spirochetes of the genus Leptospira.
How do human get leptospirosis
The contact with water or soil contaminated by the urine of the infected animals. Persons can get the disease by swimming or wading in fresh unchlorinated water contaminated with animal urine or by coming into contact with wet soil or plants contaminated with animal urine. Entry of the organisms via skin abrasions or intact mucous membranes is followed by leptospiremia and widespread dissemination.
Incubation Period: 1-2 weeks (range from 2 to 20 days)
What are the symptoms of leptospirosis in humans
- Muscle ache
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Skin rash
Many of these symptoms are similar to other diseases, including the flu and meningitis, so it’s important to get tested.
Types of leptospirosis
1. Anicteric leptospirosis:- A biphasic illness, is the milder form and is found in 90% of symptomatic cases.
2. Icteric leptospirosis(Weil’s syndrome):- It is a severe form of leptospirosis with a mortality rate of 5 to 15%.
How does the leptospirosis diagnose in humans
Diagnosis of leptospirosis is confirmed with tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The MAT (microscopic agglutination test), a serological test, is considered the gold standard in diagnosing leptospirosis. As a large panel of different leptospira must be subcultured frequently, which is both laborious and expensive, it is underused, especially in developing countries.
Differential diagnosis list for leptospirosis is very large due to diverse symptoms. For forms with middle to high severity, the list includes dengue fever and other hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis of various causes, viral meningitis, malaria, and typhoid fever. Light forms should be distinguished from influenza and other related viral diseases. Specific tests are a must for proper diagnosis of leptospirosis.
Prevention and Treatment of Leptospirosis
Prevention: Effective rat control and avoidance of urine contaminated water sources are essential preventive measures. Human vaccines are available only in a few countries, such as Cuba and China. Animal vaccines only cover a few strains of the bacteria. Dog vaccines are effective for at least one year. Prevention may be achieved through the use of protective clothing or by changes in animal husbandry. Immunization is not widely used in human populations but has a role in agriculture. Oral administration of doxycycline (Periostat, CollaGenex) once-weekly can give short-term protection in high-risk environments. The disease in humans has a broad range of symptoms.
Treatment may be symptomatic or may require administration of antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin.
Glucose and salt solution infusions may be administered; dialysis is used in serious cases. Elevations of serum potassium are common and if the potassium level gets too high special measures must be taken. Serum phosphorus levels may likewise increase to unacceptable levels due to kidney failure.
What are the main complications of untreated leptospirosis
Acute kidney injury is one of the most common complications of severe leptospirosis. A particularly serious type of lung involvement(severe pulmonary hemorrhagic syndrome)is a major cause of death in patients with Weil’s disease in developing countries, with profuse lung hemorrhage. Hepatic dysfunction is usually mild and reversible. Variable degrees of thrombocytopenia have been reported with leptospirosis.