- Leptospirosis is caused by the bacteria Leptospira interrogans
- Leptospirosis is rare and is usually found in the tropics
- Leptospirosis is spread by the urine of an infected animal
Leptospirosis is a water-borne bacterial disease that has possibly causes the death of 3 in Mumbai. The first death of a 15-year-old is yet to be ascertained. But the second and third victims, a 27-year-old and a 21 year old are certainly the victims of leptospirosis. Besides leptospirosis, there are cases of other water borne diseases too. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infectious disease that can affect both animals and humans. Leptospirosis is caused by the bacteria Leptospira interrogans. Leptospirosis is spread from the urine of animals like dogs, rodents, farm animals etc. Leptospirosis is rare and is usually found in the tropics. Human beings can get this infection through direct contact with the urine of an infected animal, or any direct contact contaminated urine present in the environment. Once the bacteria enters the body, the disease spreads rapidly in 24 hours, severely affecting the major organs of the body.
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Causes of Leptospirosis
The bacteria Leptospira interrogans is carried by many animals in their kidneys. It can end up in soil and water through their urine. When you come in contact with the urine of an infected animal, the bacteria may invade through your skin through open wounds. It can also enter the body through nose, mouth and genitals. Leptospirosis is weakly contagious, but it can be spread through sex or breastfeeding. After contracting leptospirosis, the urine of humans also contains the bacteria. Leptospirosis is mostly found in warm environments. Leptospirosis is common in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Leptospirosis in liver is caused Weil's disease. Weil's disease is characterised by the yellowing of eyes, like in jaundice. Heavy rainfall can increase the spread of the bacterial infection to areas that experience flooding.
Symptoms of Leptospirosis
3. Muscle pain
5. Abdominal pain
7. Pain in joints
8. Sore throat
11. Red eyes
These symptoms occur during the first phase of leptospirosis. Leptospirosis typically progresses in three stages. Usually the first phase is resolves with treatment and not many people progress to phase two. But the symptoms of phase two can appear suddenly after the patient starts feelings well. The symptoms of phase two include:
1. Fever and stiffness of the neck
2. Inflammation in the nerves of eyes
5. Renal failure
6. Cardiac arrythmias
7. Septic shock
The third phase starts after 2-4 weeks of the initial infection symptoms. The organs are compromised. Some patients may develop long term complications like kidney and lung failure. The death rate of leptospirosis is about 1-5%.
Also read: 6 Simple Home Remedies For Ear Infections
Treatment of Leptospirosis
Physicians usually diagnose the disease based on the patient's history and physical exam. Patients with severe symptoms are diagnosed by proper medical tests. Early stage leptospirosis is difficult to diagnose as the symptoms resemble those of flu and other common infections. Leptospirosis can be treated with specific antibiotics as prescribed by your specific physician.
Prevention of leptospirosis
A leptospirosis vaccine is not available yet. But leptospirosis can be prevented by taking some precautionary measures towards health care.
1. Vaccine your dog. If your pet dog is infected with leptospirosis, you are likely to contract the disease yourself. Therefore, it is advised to get your dog treated against the disease.
2. People who live in areas where the risk of leptospirosis is high, they should avoid coming in contact with stagnated water and stray animals that may carry the disease.
3. People who travel to areas with high risk of leptospirosis, should avoid swimming in fresh water ponds, drink only sealed water, clean and cover any open wounds.
4. Emergent or military personal may take antibiotics as a precautionary measure.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.