Leptospira Summary

Leptospira interrogans:

  Spirochetes with outer sheath encloses axial fibrils wrapped around protoplasmic cylinder, axial fibrils originate at both poles and may overlap at center of cell in Treponema and Borrelia, but not in Leptospira

  Obligate aerobes, with characteristic hooked ends

  Leptospirosis, also called Weil’s disease, is characterized by an acute febrile jaundice and neprhitis that is transmitted to humans from a variety of animal hosts (both wild and domestic mammals, e.g. dogs in the U.S.); mainly a zoonotic disease; occupational disease of animal handling

  Transmitted through breaks in the skin or intact mucus membranes with indirect contact (soil, water, feed) with infected urine from an animal with leptospiruria

  Incubation period usually 10-12 days with flu-like illness usually progressing through two clinical stages:

    1. Leptospiremia develops rapidly after infection (usually last about 7 days)without local lesion
    2. Infects the kidneys and organisms are shed in the urine, with renal failure and death not uncommon, hepatic injury and meningeal irritation is common

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