How Is Leptospirosis Transmitted From Animals to Humans?


Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by germs coming from the genus Leptospira. Leptospirosis happens worldwide, however is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas. Break outs can occur following extreme rains or flooding.

How Do Humans Get Leptospirosis from Animals?

  • Leptospirosis can be transmitted to people through cuts and abrasions of the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals. As animals are continuously in our environment, there is a specific threat of getting leptospirosis when flooding occurs, such as following a typhoon or very heavy seasonal rains, since of exposure to infected water when pitching in floodwaters.
  • Leptospirosis can occasionally also be transmitted through the drinking of water or consumption of food polluted with urine of contaminated animals, frequently rats.
  • Human-to-human transmission happens only very rarely.

Which Animals Can Infect Humans With Leptospirosis?

Virtually all wild and domestic mammals can harbour the bacteria that cause leptospirosis in their kidneys and genital tracts and serve as source of infection to humans and other animals.

  • Rodents were the first acknowledged carriers of leptospirosis and are considered the main source of infection to human beings.
  • Cattle, buffaloes, horses, sheep, goat, pigs and dogs are likewise considered common tanks of the germs that triggers leptospirosis.

Who Is at Danger From Leptospirosis?

Break outs of leptospirosis have been reported following natural catastrophes such as flooding. The risk of infection depends upon direct exposure. Some people have a high risk of direct exposure due to the fact that of their occupation, the environment they reside in or their way of life.

The primary occupational groups at threat consist of:

  • farm and agricultural workers
  • family pet store employees
  • veterinarians
  • sewer employees
  • abattoir employees
  • meat handlers
  • military workers
  • survivors of natural disasters (e.g., flooding).
  • people participating in recreational water sports (swimming, etc).

In some nations, practically the entire population is at threat as an outcome of high direct exposure to polluted water in day-to-day activities, e.g. working in paddies and sugarcane plantations. The variety of males with leptospirosis is typically higher than that of women. This may show occupational direct exposure in male dominated activities.

Although leptospirosis is frequently considered to be a rural disease, individuals living in cities might also be at danger, due to the fact that of direct exposure to infected rats.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Leptospirosis?

The incubation duration of leptospirosis is usually 5–14 days, with a series of 2– 30 days. The symptoms following infection with leptospira can vary from a moderate ‘influenza’- like illness to a severe and sometimes deadly disease.

Leptospirosis is frequently tough to identify scientifically, as it can seem very much like numerous other diseases such as dengue, typhoid and viral hepatitis. Although the disease is a self-limiting and typically clinically inapparent disease in the bulk of cases, 5-15% of untreated cases can progress to a more severe and possibly fatal stage.

Leptospirosis Treatment in Humans

Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics that ought to be provided as early in the course of illness as possible. If you have symptoms of leptospirosis and have actually been exposed to water potentially contaminated with urine of infected animals, seek advice from a physician. If leptospirosis is thought, appropriate antibiotics will be recommended. Treatment is most reliable when begun as soon as possible. Clinicians ought to never ever wait on the outcomes of lab tests prior to beginning treatment with antibiotics.

How to Prevent Leptospirosis?

Risk of infection is lessened by preventing contact with animal urine, infected animals or a contaminated environment.

Procedures to avoid transmission of leptospirosis consist of the following:

  • Using protective clothing (boots, gloves, spectacles, aprons, masks).
  • Covering skin lesions with water resistant dressings.
  • Preventing access to, or providing adequate warning about water bodies understood or believed to be infected (swimming pools, ponds, rivers). Try to avoid wading or swimming in possibly polluted water.
  • Washing or showering after exposure to urine splashes or contaminated soil or water.
  • Cleaning and cleaning up wounds.
  • Preventing or preventing urine splashes and aerosols, preventing touching ill or dead animals, or assisting animals in giving birth.
  • Strictly preserving hygienic steps during care or handling all animals.
  • Where practical, decontaminating infected locations (scrubbing floors in stables, butcheries, abattoirs, etc.)
  • Consuming clean drinking-water.

Although human vaccines have been utilized in some countries with differing degrees of success, there are no WHO pre-qualified vaccines presently offered.

Reyus Mammadli
Having engineering and medical education, in recent years actively engaged in the study of the development, reproduction of domestic animals. Special attention is paid to the treatment and prevention of diseases of Pets.
Pet Health
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