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Leptospirosis 

Leptospirosis
Chapter:
Leptospirosis
Author(s):

Nicholas P.J. Day

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0139
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date: 02 March 2021

Leptospirosis, caused by pathogenic spirochetes of the genus Leptospira, is a bacterial zoonosis with a worldwide impact on human and animal health. For human infection rodents are the most important reservoir; infection follows exposure to contaminated water, soil, or urine, the organism entering through skin abrasions or mucosal surfaces.

Subclinical infection is common, but symptomatic disease usually begins with abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, and myalgia. Most cases are undiagnosed due to the poor availability of diagnostic tests in regions where transmission occurs. Whether treatment of mild leptospirosis with antibiotics prevents more severe disease remains controversial, most experts recommend empirical treatment if leptospirosis is suspected.

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