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Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. It can lead to potentially fatal infections of the kidney, liver, brain, lung or heart.

How do people get Leptospirosis?

  • Direct contact with the urine of infected animals like rodents, cattle, pigs, horses and wild animals or urine-contaminated water, soil and plants. Leptospires can gain entry through cuts and abrasions in the skin and through mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Ingesting contaminated food or water.


  1. Do not wade or swim in floodwaters or in water contaminated with animal urine.
  2. If exposure to water is unavoidable, wear protective clothing like boots, gloves, goggles, overalls
  3. Protect food and drinking water from contamination.
  4. Boil drinking water for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Fresh vegetables and fruits should be washed

Antibiotic prophylaxis can be given for some degree of protection to exposed individuals. The use of prophylaxis requires prior consult with a Physician.

Persons with symptoms suggestive of leptospirosis should see a doctor

Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms including:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks.

Leptospirosis may occur in two phases:

  • In the first phase, the person may have 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.

The illness lasts from a few days to 3 weeks or longer. Without treatment, recovery may take several months.

Disclaimer:  Insular Health Care, Inc. disclaims any liability or responsibility for the consequences of any actions taken in reliance on the health advisory or safety tips. The health-related materials contained herein are not intended to establish policy, procedure or standard of care.

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