Leptospirosis, a disease caused by leptospires (spiral shaped bacteria), affects humans, wild animals and domestic animals worldwide. Human disease can be an occupational hazard for veterinarians, those working in animal husbandry or meat processing, and military troops. In recreational settings, leptospirosis is a hazard for travelers to tropical countries (e.g. ecotourism), campers, hikers, and hunters. It has been associated with swimming, wading, and whitewater rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. Leptospirosis in people may occur in two phases. The first phase often produces flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, headache, chills, vomiting). If the second phase occurs, more severe symptoms are observed including kidney or liver failure or meningitis. The more severe phase of the disease can potentially be life threatening.
Page last updated 12/21/2022