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Leptospirosis

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Leptospirosis is an infectious disease of domestic animals, especially cattle, swine, and dogs, caused by spirochetes of the genus Leptospira and characterized by jaundice and fever.
It is transmissible to humans through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or by contact with a urine-contaminated environment, such as surface water, soil and plants.

In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected people may have no symptoms at all. Because of the wide range of symptoms the infection is often wrongly diagnosed. This leads to a lower registered number of cases than there really are. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or a rash. Complications include renal failure, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.

Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, in both rural and urban areas and in temperate and tropical climates. The number of human cases worldwide is not well documented. It probably ranges from 0.1 to 1 per 100,000 per year in temperate climates to 10 or more per 100,000 may be infected. For several reasons leptospirosis is overlooked and consequently underreported in many areas of the world.

Click here to learn for more information about waterborne diseases, dimension of the problem, transmission, prevention.

Sources:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/leptospirosis/en/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptospirosis
Picture:
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2005-12,GGLD:en&q=leptospirosis&spell=1

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