Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of humans and animals. It is caused by Leptospira bacteria that are excreted in the urine of infected animals. Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of humans and animals. It is caused by Leptospira bacteria that are excreted in urine
from infected animals including mice, rats, cattle, pigs and dogs.
Cases of leptospirosis can increase after tropical cyclones or floods when people may have to wade through contaminated water or use it for drinking or bathing. Activities that increase your risk of leptospirosis include:
There are a number of ways to prevent leptospirosis.
A doctor can diagnose leptospirosis through a blood test. The bacteria can also sometimes be detected in cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid lining the brain and spinal cord) and urine. Often, two blood tests taken more than two weeks apart are required to make the diagnosis. If you become sick in the weeks following possible exposure to animal urine or a contaminated environment, it is important to tell your doctor about the exposure.
Leptospirosis is commonly treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline or penicillin. Because the testing can take some time and the disease can be severe, a doctor may choose to start antibiotics prior to confirming the diagnosis with tests. Antibiotic treatment is thought to be most effective if started early in the disease. However, some people recover spontaneously without antibiotics.
Laboratories are required to notify cases of leptospirosis to the local public health unit. Where cases may be linked, public health staff will investigate to determine common exposures and ways to contact the source of infection.
For further information please call your local public health unit on 1300 066 055