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Know All About a Rare Disease Called Leptospirosis

Health is a very important part of our life. If there are children on the way or already at home - health becomes even more important to maintain well. Recently, a rare endemic called leptospirosis has hit the country in the most deadly manner. Read on to know what it is, how to recognise the symptoms, treatment and prevent it at the right time.

What is leptospirosis?

Bacteria is of two types: life threatening or safe.

Leptospirosis is a life threatening and infectious bacterial disease that is directly or indirectly transferred from animals to humans. This bacteria is mostly found in the kidney or genital tracts of all animals. Yet, the most likely to transmit the disease are cattle, buffaloes, horses, sheep, goat, pigs, dogs and rodents.

Leptospirosis occurs either all year round or only seasonally depending on the amount of the bacteria present.

The condition is seen to be more frequent in areas that are tropical, subtropical humid or abundant with rainfall. This infection affects people based on their:

1. home location i.e. like being near contaminated water

2. environmental exposure i.e. daily activities in affected area

3. interaction with affected groups i.e. agricultural workers, pet shop owners, veterinarians, sewer workers, abattoir workers, meat handlers, the military, survivors of natural disasters and people engaging in recreational water sports.

In many cases, people have had kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress or have come to the point to losing their life.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of leptospirosis are very hard to recognise without the proper warning given through awareness. It is important that you visit the doctor if you suspect even one of these symptoms:

- high fever

- severe headache

- chills

- muscle aches

- vomiting

- jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

- red eyes

- abdominal pain

- diarrhoea

- rash.

Leptospirosis: normal course of progression


Courtesy: Dr Richard A. Collins, Hong Kong; WHO

Treatment and prevention

Either simple medication or hospitalization is the best treat leptospirosis infection. Most importantly, testing is important.

- Making sure that the infected area or environment (land or water) is taken care of.

Doctors say that once the bacteria start to grow, it is very easy for them to multiply. Then, it is difficult to stop the growth unless the right methods are used

- Since not all animals show symptoms of getting affected by the bacteria, testing them is very important.

Treating the infected animal must be priority and you should avoid any contact till the infection is resolved.

- Clothing should not only be waterproof but protective in all of your daily activities.

This includes your five senses as well as any wounds that could be infected

- Awareness is most important.

People and many doctors themselves are unable to properly diagnose the infection. So, to avoid serious damage, awareness about leptospirosis should be widespread.

2 this year - one a 6 year old

A Times of India article talks extensively about the problems that doctors are facing with leptospirosis. It is one of the many other seasonal infections which more rapidly on the rise. With close to 20 cases last year (highest with the monsoon breakout as the major cause), the article cautions readers to watch out for signs so as to take action at the right time.

One of the cases found this year is of a six year old child. White the condition is treatable, children are the most sensitive group in our life. So, it should be a must that they are equally protected from problems of leptospirosis.

Look out for all the doubts or signs and ensure that you stay healthy! 

Disclaimer - All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child. 

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