Medical Conditions | Uncategorized

Weil’s disease (leptospirosis)

Disease caused by the bacterium Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae, which usually infects rodents living in the wild. This disease occurs the world over. The animals, mainly brown rats, excrete the bacterium along with their urine. The bacteria survive better in fresh water and the chances of humans becoming infected are greatest in a damp area where there is mud and puddles. The number of cases of Weil’s disease has been decreasing over the last few years because the bacteria cannot survive the increasing levels of pollution being found in water. The disorder occurs mainly in people who swim or fall into infected water, and among sewerage workers and farm labourers. The bacteria enter the body through wounds, and via the eyes and nose. After about ten days, the disease begins with shivering, high temperature, headache, and muscle pain in the calves. The patient urinates less than before and his urine is dark in colour. The body temperature falls after two to five days, and in severe cases the patient becomes more seriously ill and is drowsy; jaundice may set in. The eyes are inflamed, as are the membranes of the brain. There may be a skin rash, with small haemorrhages on the skin. Severe abnormalities of the kidney and liver sometimes occur. There is a slow recovery after two to three weeks. The disease takes a mild course in most cases. Treatment consists of administering antibiotics for the first week of the illness.

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