Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by many animals. Waste products, usually urine and feces from the infected animal contaminate the water, soil and vegetation.
Rodents, usually rats are considered the primary source of infection to human beings. Cattle, horses, goats, pigs and dogs can also be a source of infection.
Outbreaks can occur following excessive rainfall and flooding.
How do people get Leptospirosis?
- Direct contact with urine of infected animals or urine-contaminated waters (usually flood water), soil and plants. The bacterium enters the body through cuts and abrasions of the skin and through mucous membranes of the eye, nose and mouth.
- Ingesting contaminated food or water.
- Person to person transmission is rare.
- Early consultation – early recognition and treatment within 2 days of illness prevents complications. Complications include kidney failure, damage to liver, heart or lungs, and even death.
- Antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.
- Do not wade or swim in floodwaters or in water contaminated with animal urine.
- If exposure to water is unavoidable, wear protective clothing like boots, gloves, goggles, overalls. Cover cuts, wounds and lesions with waterproof dressings.
Prophylaxis treatment may be given to prevent infection depending on the level of exposure. Consult a doctor for proper advice.
- Wash or take a shower after exposure to animal urine splashes or contaminated soil or water.
- Protect food or drinking water from contamination. Boil drinking water for 10-15 minutes. Wash fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Maintain a clean environment. Control rodents in the household (rat traps or rat poison).