What is Leptospirosis?it is an illness transmitted through mud or water contaminated by the urine of infected animals and is characterized by fever, headache, chills, muscle pains (myalgia), conjunctival suffusion (red eyes), and less frequently by meningitis, rash, jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes), or kidney failure.
When should I suspect that I have leptospirosis?You should recommend that you see a doctor immediately if you present with an acute febrile illness of at least 2 days
And either residing in a flooded area or has high-risk exposure (wading in flood waters, swimming in flood water or ingestion of contaminated water with or without cuts or wounds)
And presenting with at LEAST TWO of the following:
Myalgia (muscle pain)
Conjunctival suffusion (red eyes)
Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of skin and eyes)
Oliguria (decreasing amount of urine)
How soon should I expect the symptoms of leptospirosis?Symptoms of Leptospirosis can develop anytime between 2 days to 4 weeks after being exposed to bacteria causing leptospirosis.
Do I need to be hospitalized to recieve treatment for leptospirosis?No, not all individuals suspected for leptospirosis need hospitalization.
Any suspected case of leptospirosis but have stable vital signs, good urine output. no jaundice or difficulty in breating and able to take oral medication may be managed on an out-patient setting.
These clinical decisions are made by the pysician handling the patient after thorough examination and confirmatory laboratory results are in.
Which animals can spread leptospirosis to humans?Many animals can spread leptospirosis, including pets (e.g. dogs), farm animals, or wildlife. The animals that commonly develop or spread leptospirosis includes: rat or rodents, cattle, swine (pigs), dogs, horses, sheeps, and goats.
How do people get leptospirosis?There are two common ways to get leptospirosis:
a) Exposure to urine or body fluids of infected animals.
b) Drinking of contact with water or soil that has been contaminated with urine or body fluids of infected animals.
How can I protect my child from leptospirosis if he cannot take doxycycline?The best way to prevent leptospirosis in children is to avoid wading in flood waters. It is also advisable to wear protective clothing and footwear near soild or water that may be contaminated with animal urine.
Can I take doxycycline if I am pregnant or breast-feeding?No, doxycycline is contraindicated in pregnant and breast-feeding mothers.
Are all drugs for leptospirosis safe for all age groups?Unfortunately, not all medications used for leptospirosis prophylaxis and its treatment are safe for all age groups. Doxycycline, which can be used as a prophylactic agentfor treatment of leptospirosis, cannot be given to children 8 years old and below.
How is leptorisis treated?Once your doctor has confirmed that your symptoms are that of leptospirosis and by doing a test, you should be treated with antibiotics. Treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible.
Can leptospirosis be prevented?Yes, leptospirosis can be prevented by several ways:
Avoid contact with animal urine or body fluids, especially if there are cuts or abrasions of the skin.
Wear protective clothing or footwear near soil or water that may be contaminated with animal urine
Consume boiled water, especially during the rainy season.
Avoid swimming or wading in muddy ponds and slowly moving streams especially those located near farms or stagnant water.
Control rats and mice around the home on a regular basis
When and where does leptospirosis occur?Leptospirosis is common in tropical and subtropical areas with high rainfall, In certain area, cases of leptospirosis peak during the rainy season and the illness may spread where flood occurs.
How does leptospirosis occur?The leptospirosis bacteria enter the human body through cuts and cracks on the skin, or through membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth.
During periods of natural disaster like floods and typhoons, is there any available drug to take to prevent leptospirosis?Yes, medications are available to help prevent leptospirosis. However, it is still best to consult your physician to identify your risk and to be given proper instructions regarding medications, if needed.
Can I get leptospirosis from a sick household member?No, leptospirosis is not spread from human to human.