Leptospirosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Leptospirosis All You Need to Know

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infectious disease that is caused by Leptospira interrogans. It is highly infectious emerging waterborne zoonosis life-threatening disease. The disease has widely spread in many countries of the world including India. Leptospirosis can infect the person who has direct or indirect contact with the urine of infected animals. Exposure to and assimilation of urine-contaminated water is the common mode of transmission of this disease. Patients those who get affected by Leptospirosis may develop kidney failure, liver failure or even respiratory illnesses and in a severe condition, he/she may experience death.

What is the main cause of Leptospirosis?

The main cause of this disease is bacteria and the Leptospira bacteria can infect animals like rodents, dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and cattle. These infected animals when urinate can contaminate the water, lakes, rivers, soil, and even crops. The bacteria then infect humans and attacks the mucus membranes making them weak. Some of the symptoms that one can experience if infected by Leptospirosis are high fever, headache, abdominal pain and many others.

Some other symptoms that one can experience are like:

  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Jaundice
  • Reddish eyes
  • Rashes

Who are at Risk?

Leptospirosis is considered to be weakly contagious but, there are some risk factors involved in it and people who can be at risk are mentioned below:

  • Occupations or exposure to farm animals, wild animals, and contaminated water/soil
  • Slaughterhouse workers, veterinarians, disaster workers
  • People participating in outdoor activities like camping or kayaking
  • Exposure to sewage or animal waste, stools from infected dogs can increase the risk of getting leptospirosis.

Treatment for Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis in the first phrase can be treated by the clinic doctor and pediatricians. But, if the patients enter in the second phase of the disease, doctors may include critical care, where they presumptive diagnosis based on the history of patients. The healthcare professionals perform different tests and treatments to isolate the bacteria from the patients. Talking about treatment, Leptospirosis is mainly treated with antibiotics namely doxycycline or penicillin. This medicine should be given in the early course of the disease. Moreover, for more severe symptoms, the patient may be diagnosed with Intravenous antibiotics.

Prevention

If you want to stay away from the risk of acquiring leptospirosis then it is better to utilize some preventive measures. You should not swim or wade in water that might be contaminated with animal urine. Make sure to eliminate contact with potentially infected animals. Wear protective clothing or footwear if you get exposed to contaminated water or soil. Another important thing that you can do to keep yourself protected from Leptospirosis is to avoid drinking contaminated water.

The Bottom Line

If you want to reduce the chances of getting Leptospirosis, make sure to avoid contact with animal excrement. Try to stay in a good hygiene and avoid drinking contaminated water or working on a contaminated soil. It is possible that dogs, and many other animals, can be infected with leptospirosis but, there are veterinarians that have access to vaccines, which can protect (or prevent) leptospirosis.

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