Leptospirosis | Weil’s Disease : causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Weil’s Disease or Leptospirosis is a type of bacterial contamination, that is spread by cows, sheep, buffalos, mouse, rat, rodents and other mammals and causes serious illness. 

Other names of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

  • Rice field jaundice
  • Autumn fever
  • Seven-day fever
  • Nanukayami infection
  • Mud disease
  • Black jaundice
  • Dairy farm fever

Types of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

  • Mild leptospirosis: about 90 % of the cases are with leptospirosis. In this case symptoms like headache, muscle stiffness, chills appear.
  • Severe leptospirosis: about 5 to 15 % are with severe leptospirosis .this type infects the vital organs that lead to organ failure ultimately death can occur

Signs/Symptoms of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease   

  • Temperature
  • Anxieties
  • Muscle pains
  • Nuisance
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

If the Liver, kidney, and heart gets infected by a pathogen, the following symptoms may appear.

  • Continuous Weightless
  • Exhaustion
  • Liver inflammation and Pain
  • Less urination
  • Difficulty in breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Jaundice

Brain infection

 The signs changes as the variation occur in the infected organ.

  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Drowsiness (feeling sleepy)
  • Confusion
  • Aggressiveness                          
  • Seizures
  • Movements become out of control

Causes of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

It is caused by a pathogenic species of leptospira.Here on we called the disease lepto for short. Leptospira are aerobic gram-negative spirochete bacteria. They give a corkscrew appearance. They live in the kidney of the infected animal and expelled through urine.

Genetic analysis now used 21 species of leptospira with 6 being pathogenic,9 being intermediate in pathogenicity and 6 being nonpathogenic.  When infected animals urinate in soil or in water the pathogenic bacteria grow in number there. This bacteria can remain in that place for many weeks. It is caused by animals:

  • Cattle
  • Dogs
  • Pigs
  • Rodents
  • Horses
  • Wild animals 

At first, no symptoms appear in these animals, the affected animal constantly releasing the bacteria into the environment. And a human can be affected by:

If they have:

  • Any exposure to the urine of  infected animals
  • Exposure to polluted soil or water
  • If a human has a cut or any wound  on the skin then bacteria can pass into the human body through that cut or wound
  • Bacteria can also enter the human body through the opening like nose, mouth, and genetics.
  • If an infected person touches the non- infected touches non-infected person then it does not cause the infection 

Bacteria is the sole cause of leptospirosis. Spirochete germs related to type Leptospira causes Leptospirosis. It is aerobic,  helical, and 6 –20 micrometers in length.

 The outer membrane of Leptospira is made up of lipopolysaccharide, and the inner membrane made up of peptidoglycan. However, peptidoglycan coating in Leptospira lies very nearer to internal membrane.

Immune system response

The human immune system is the sole fighter against bacterial cells. Certain anti-bodies as immune globulin M along with immune gamma globulin are formed that tries to fight against bacteria.

The lipid molecules of the bacterial cells are not detected by the human receptors

People at a higher risk in Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

  • Farmers
  • Veterinarians
  • Fishermen
  • Butchers
  • Persons involved in sports, as swimming, rafting,
  • Rodent control workers
  • Soldiers
  • Mineworkers

Diagnosis of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

In 1982, WHO proposed the criteria for the diagnosis of Weil’s disease. It has three parts:

  • Experimental discoveries
  • Epidemiologic issues
  • Lab findings along with bacteriological data

It is your responsibility to show surgeon if you:

  • Recently travelled.
  • Contributed in water sports.
  • Working with animals or animal products.
  • MAT test is specific in detecting types and it requires antigens.

Molecular tests

The DNA of Leptospira might be improved by means of polymerase chain response .


If the lungs are infected, the X-ray of the chest is done.

Treatment of Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

Generally, it is very easy to cure leptospiral cases. Proper and timely use of antibiotics may prevent the severity of the disease. Therefore, if the resources are limited, start the treatment using relevant antibiotics. 


If the disease left untreated, it can cause kidney failure, liver failure, sometimes and heart failure. It rarely results in death.

Preventions from Leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease

This disease can be prevented or risks of infection can be reduced by:

  • Wear waterproof shoes
  • Safety goggles in water
  • Gloves during work
  • Proper sanitation and
  • Rat and Rodents control measures
  • Do not come in contact with stagnant water
  • Always use pure and pasteurized food

Avoid polluted water:

  • Avoid any exposure to water polluted with infected animal urine
  • Use boil or filtered water
  • If you paddle in floodwater, make sure that your wounds are covered with proper clothing or use long leather shoes if your feet have any kind of scratch
  • Avoid swimming, fishing in rivers, lakes  or pound
  • Generally, seawater should be safe

Avoid infected animals

As the infection-causing  bacteria is spread through domestic animals or rodents so, you should avoid these animals

About 20% of the infection is spread  with wild cats so, beware while  handling these wilds rats

Keep away from the bites and body fluids of sick animals

There is no risk of spreading this disease through the air like flue


In developed countries vaccination  of domestic animals are provided so this disease is less in these countries

Be careful while travelling

You should be careful during travelling as there is a high risk of leptospirosis in countries with the poor sewerage system

So, if you feel ill during travelling then check the symptoms and seek to a doctor

Use antiseptic chemicals

  •         Dettol, Lysol, bleach, iodine, and acid solutions are the killing agent of bacteria
  •         Also clean your hands with soap before eating
  •         You can also use sanitizer for germs killing
  •         Eat a balanced diet
  •         Avoid alcohol
  •         Take regular exercise

Leptospirosis in other animals

  • In pigs, abortions occur after 1–4 weeks of infection and 2–12 weeks in cattle.
  • In reservoir hosts, the illness is very mild. Kidneys, liver, and reproductive systems are the most widely affected organs.
  • Leptospi­rosis majorly affects the reproductive in adult pigs and cattle. There might be spontaneous abortion in cows up to 40%.
  • The Disease is more severe in younger animals. The survival rate of dogs is about 80%, but it may reduce if the lungs are infected.


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