What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is also known as Rat Fever. It is a bacterial infection caused by the bug Leptospira. These pathogen thrive in water and wet grounds. They then infect domestic, farm animals and rodents. The infection can pass through the urine of an infected animal or, through infected tissue from a dead animal. This bacteria can get into the body through:
Working with animals or exposure to contaminated soil, mud or flood waters pose a greater risk of getting this disease.
In Asian countries like India, rainy season may bring an increase in the number of cases. Water clogging and flooding cause rodents like rats to move into houses. That can lead to a Leptospirosis epidemic.
What are the signs and symptoms of this disease?
Leptospirosis has symptoms that are like many other diseases such as dengue, typhoid and viral hepatitis. Clinical signs and symptoms can vary from none to mild flu-like to very serious. In about 5-15 per cent of untreated cases it can become severe and even fatal.
Common symptoms of this disease are:
If left untreated it can cause severe complications such meningitis (brain disease), lung issues or kidney failure.
How to prevent?
By following some simple preventive measures you can prevent infection as well as spread of this disease.
Who are at risk?
Like any other disease the risk of infection from Leptospirosis depends upon the amount of exposure. As rats are the primary source of infection, people living or working in premises infested with rats have a higher risk of infection. Also, some people like farm workers, veterinarians, sewer workers have a high risk of exposure due to the nature of their work bringing them in close proximity of the carriers like rats and other animals.
What are its treatment and diagnosis?
Connect with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Leptospirosis is diagnosed through a specific urine test or a series of blood tests. Do let your doctor know if you were ex-posed to infected animals, or contaminated soil/water.
Antibiotic treatment for this disease is effective within 7 to 10 days of infection. Treatment for Leptospirosis is antibiotics. It works best when given immediately on diagnosis or suspicion.
Article By: Dr. Aditi Sood
A doctor mom passionate about health and wellness
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