LEPTOSPIROSIS

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Last Updated : 7/11/2011
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Dr. Ira Shah
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What is leptospirosis ?
It is type of fever that leads to fever with joint and muscles pain and is caused by a germ called as leptospira. This germ is present in the rats and other animals and humans are incidentally infected.

Most of the time or generally leptospirosis spread in monsoon season. It is commonly seen in people who are working in sewage - cleaning department. The main cause of the infection is the rat, dots, cats, livestock and many other wild animals. These animals excrete the leptospira germ in their urine and when this contaminated water with rats' urine comes in contact with the skin and mucous membranes of humans then humans can get affected. Leptospirosis is commonly seen after children have waded through dirty water that accumulates post floods after heavy rains.

Number of cases of leptospirosis have seen a spurt in recent times especially in India .

What are the symptoms of leptospirosis ?
Initially the child may come with the fever, muscle pain and headache. Sometimes patient may feel nauseated or have vomiting and mild pain in stomach. There may be a trivial rash on body. With persistence of infection, patient may develop jaundice, kidney problem and even brain fever (meningitis). There may bleeding tendency due to decrease in the platelet count in the blood and the child may develop shock and low blood pressure. Leptospirosis is also called as Weil's disease when there is presence of jaundice.

What should you do if you have a child with fever ?
If your child is getting fever with body ache and uneasiness and has waded in dirty water recently, contact your family physician for early management.

How is diagnosis of leptospira made ?
Diagnosis of leptospirosis can be made with help of blood tests called as Leptospira ELISA which will detect presence of antibodies to leptospirosis. Your doctor may find low platelet count and test for kidney and liver damage.

What is the treatment of leptospira ?
Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline. A child with leptospirosis needs hospitalization and treated and monitored for complications.

How can leptospira be prevented ?
Leptospirosis may be prevented by keeping areas and roads clean, closing garbage put in the dustbin, ensuring proper cleaning of drainage pipes. During rains, one must avoid water logged roads. Extra precaution must be taken in monsoon.

Are there any vaccines to prevent leptospirosis ?
There is no vaccine to prevent leptospira



Contributor Information and Disclosures Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India


First Created : 2/6/2001
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