Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by exposure to dirty water during the season of rains and by coming in close contact with animal excreta. In this disease, bacteria enters the body through contaminated food and water which reaches the gut and spreads into the blood causing infection. Causes of Leptospirosis may include drinking contaminated water, contact with water, food or soil contaminated with the urine of animals due to leakage in sewage pipes and breaking of drains in rainy season. Bacteria can enter the body through a cut or scratch on skin. Floods or over flowing sewer water which spreads on roads and local areas can also spread the disease.
Children playing in muddy fields, dirty roads during rains, people indulging in swimming and water sports in lakes and rivers which are infected and unclean, fishermen and sewer workers and families who drink non purified water during rains, are all at risk. Leptospirosis is also getting common in urban cities because of leakage in sewage pipes, water logging and accumulation of garbage on roads, making people walking without covered shoes and those walking barefoot, get exposed to infection.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, shivering and headaches. If not treated on time, it even leads to kidney damage, liver failure, meningitis, respiratory distress and liver failure.
Leptospirosis is usually treated with a course of antibiotics, although their effectiveness has not been conclusively proven. Most cases of leptospirosis are mild and are treated with a five to seven-day course of antibiotic tablets. Penicillin or a tetracycline antibiotic called doxycycline are the preferred choices.
Measures to prevent this disease include washing vegetables and fruits under running water thoroughly, wearing protected footwear and clothing while working outside, washing hands and feet thoroughly after exposure to dirty water, avoiding eating roadside food and drinking purified or boiled water.