Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria. Infected animals spread the bacteria through their urine (pee). When infected animals pee, the bacteria get into the water or soil and can live there for weeks to months.
You can be infected if you touch fresh water, soil, or other objects contaminated with infected animal urine. The most common ways to get infected is urine or contaminated water getting in your eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin (such as a cut or scratch). You can also get infected by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Some people with leptospirosis do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, stomach pain, diarrhea, and sometimes a rash. Without proper treatment with antibiotics, people with leptospirosis may develop serious problems with their kidneys, liver, or lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). In some cases, leptospirosis can cause death.
Who is at risk?
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Leptospirosis is found in countries around the world. It is most common in temperate or tropical climate regions that include South and Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Latin America.
Travelers are more likely to get leptospirosis if they
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