What are the symptoms of leptospirosis?

Symptoms of leptospirosis develop anywhere from two to 26 days following exposure to Leptospira bacteria. The average time it takes to develop symptoms is 10 days. In some cases, there may be no symptoms of infection. Symptoms can be moderate to serious and even life-threatening in some cases.

Typical symptoms include flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, and aches and pains. Other symptoms can include psychological effects, such as depression or behavior changes. Less often, you may experience a variety of other vague symptoms, such as abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain, red eyes, rash, sensitivity to light, or enlarged lymph nodes.

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition

In some cases, leptospirosis can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening situations. These include liver, kidney and heart failure. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:

  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Change in alertness, mental status, or consciousness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, hallucinations, or lethargy
  • Chest pain, pressure, tightness or discomfort
  • Decreased urination or not urinating
  • Jaundice
  • Seizure
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe bleeding from the mouth, eyes, and other mucous membranes (hemorrhage)
  • Stiff neck

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a rare bacterial disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Humans contract leptospirosis by swallowing contaminated water or food, or through contact with contaminated soil, water or food. Water, soil and food can become contaminated by mixing with animal urine that contains Leptospira bacteria.

Animals that can be infected with Leptospi... Read more about leptospirosisintroduction


What causes leptospirosis?

Leptospira bacteria cause leptospirosis. These bacteria are found in water, food or soil contaminated by infected animal urine, usually in warm and tropical climates. Animals that may be infected include cows, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, and a variety of wild animals. Humans can become infected by drinking contaminated water and food, or when mucous membranes or broken skin come ... Read more about leptospirosiscauses


How is leptospirosistreated?

Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or by stopping them from reproducing and spreading. Different types of antibiotics are effective for treating specific types of bacteria. Antibiotics used to treat leptospirosis include:

  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
    Read more about leptospirosistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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