Leptospirosis is a rare and contagious bacterial infection that can be very serious. The infection is caused by the bacterium called
. Leptospirosis is most common in warm, tropical conditions and can affect any part of the body.
With prompt and proper treatment, prognosis is usually good. If untreated, complications may develop that can potentially be fatal.
Leptospirosis is caused by contact with fresh water, wet or dampened soil, or vegetation that has been soiled by urine from an infected animal.
When contact is made with the contaminated material, the bacteria enter the body through open sores or wounds in the skin, or through mucous membranes. People can also contract leptospirosis by drinking water that has been contaminated by the urine of an infected animal.
Once the bacterium has entered the body, it flows into the bloodstream and throughout the body, causing infection.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include the following:
Blood test to determine the presence of antibodies to the
- Cultures or other laboratory tests