Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.
Leptospirosis Symptoms in Humans
- High fever
- Muscle Aches
- Red eyes
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
How To Get Infected
The bacteria that causes leptospirosis is spread through the urine of an infected animal, which can get into the water and soil. The bacteria is resilient and can survive for weeks to months. Rodents can carry and spread the bacteria that causes this disease.
Symptoms in Animals
There are NO symptoms of the disease when animals are infected. Infected animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or sporadically for a few months and up to several years.
Humans can become infected through:
- Contact with urine or other body fluids (except saliva) from infected animals
- Contact with water, soil or food contaminated with the urine of the infected animals.
The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch.
Timeline for Illness
- After the first phase (with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea) the patient may recover for a time but become ill again.
- If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis. This phase is also called Weil’s disease.