Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
In this Article
- Leptospirosis facts
- What is leptospirosis?
- What causes leptospirosis?
- Is leptospirosis contagious? What is the contagious period for leptospirosis?
- What is the incubation period for leptospirosis?
- What are risk factors for leptospirosis?
- What are leptospirosis symptoms and signs?
- What specialists treat leptospirosis?
- How do physicians diagnose leptospirosis?
- What is the treatment for leptospirosis?
- What is the prognosis of leptospirosis?
- Is a vaccine available for leptospirosis? Is it possible to prevent leptospirosis?
What are leptospirosis symptoms and signs?
The symptoms and signs of leptospirosis are variable and are similar to those seen in many other diseases (dengue fever, hantavirus, brucellosis, malaria, and others). Symptoms can arise about two days to four weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Although some people have no symptoms, others may exhibit
- high fever,
- muscle aches,
- sore throat,
- abdominal pain,
- pain in the joints or muscles,
- rash, and
- reddish eyes.
These symptoms usually occur in the first phase of the infection, and when present, they often occur abruptly. Some patients resolve their symptoms and do not progress to the second phase. Others may seem to briefly recover but relapse (about 5%-10%) with more severe symptoms and organ damage. The second-phase symptoms may overlap with the first-phase symptoms and include the following:
This is the second phase of leptospirosis, called Weil's disease. If it's not treated, it may not resolve for several months, and some patients may develop long-term complications such as kidney and lung problems. The death rate is about 1%-5%.
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