What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a form of infection that spreads via exposure to the urine of infected animals. Generally, the usual animals that can spread the disease include mice, rates, cows, dogs and even pigs.

Ways in which one can acquire the condition include:

  • Exposure of the mouth, eyes or a wound to soil or freshwater contaminated by infected urine. This is likely to occur while engaging in certain activities such as fishing, outdoor swimming or kayaking.
  • Directly handling the blood or flesh of an infected animal

What are the signs?

  • Fever and shivering
  • Head Hurts Headache Depressed Sad1

    Pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to alleviate any discomfort or lower fever.

    Headache

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Feeling of being sick
  • Appetite loss
  • Reddened eyes

Management of leptospirosis

The doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics to manage the infection. The individual is expected to fully recover within a few days or weeks.

The prescribed course of antibiotics must be completed even if the individual starts to feel better.

Pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be given to alleviate any discomfort or lower fever. In case a serious infection is suspected, the individual requires further treatment in a healthcare facility.

Preventive measures

One is at risk for leptospirosis if engaging in outdoor activities or working with animals. Some of the measures that can lower the risk for acquiring the condition include:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with water and soap after handling animals or animal products
  • Use protective clothing if at risk in the workplace
  • Clean any wounds as soon as possible
  • Make sure that any grazes and cuts are covered with waterproof plasters
  • Shower or bathe right away if exposed to potentially infected water
  • Any pets such as dogs must be vaccinated against leptospirosis.
  • Avoid directly handling or touching dead animals using bare hands
  • Avoid drinking water from canals, rivers or lakes where the water might be contaminated

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on leptospirosis is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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