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Symptoms and Signs of Leptospirosis

Doctor's Notes on Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium. Leptospirosis is transmitted to humans by direct exposure to urine or tissue of an infected animal.

Leptospirosis typically progresses through two phases of nonspecific symptoms. The first phase of leptospirosis includes nonspecific flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, eye pain with bright lights, followed by chills and fever. Other symptoms include red and watery eyes, and symptoms tend to improve by the fifth to ninth day. The second phase of leptospirosis begins after a few days of feeling well. The initial symptoms recur with fever and aching with the stiffness of the neck. Other symptoms in the second phase of leptospirosis may include serious inflammation of the nerves to the eyes, brain, spinal column (meningitis), or other nerves. Right upper area abdominal pain may occur. Less common symptoms relate to disease of the liver (called Weil’s syndrome, characterized by yellowing of the eyes, or jaundice), lungs, kidneys, and heart.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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