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Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis Its Not Only An Animal IllnessLeptospirosis the name can be a tongue twister, but it is also an important animal health disease that infects humans as well. Leptospirosis is the name give to a disease resulting from infection through a broken skin surface with a cork screw or spiral shaped bacteria belonging to the genus Leptospira or by ingestion of water contaminated with the bacteria. Leptospirosis has historically occurred in persons who have contact with fresh water following heavy rains and in persons who work outdoors, with animals, or in wet environments contaminated with animal urine. The disease occurs more frequently in adult men than in children or women, and it is most prominent during warm and rainy seasons. In the United States, new groups at risk for leptospirosis have emerged, including residents in urban areas and participants in freshwater sports. The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. In most countries worldwide, leptospirosis is considered to be a re-emerging disease. Data analysis is also indicating that the same trend is occurring in the United States. It is important to realize that a source of contact with the bacteria is not always confined to exposure to a sick animal. In some instances, shedding of leptospires in the urine may persist for as long as 3 months after infection as a result of inadequate or lack of treatment (for example, wild animal reservoirs of infection).For the pet owner (particularly a dog owner), prevention can be achieved by vaccination of your pet. It is important to remember though that vaccination does not confer immunity against all varieties of the Leptospira genus and vaccination may not confer 100 percent immunity. Like all vaccination programs, the objective is of course prevention of illness but also risk management. Other steps that you can take include the following:Do not handle or come in contact with urine, blood, or tissues from your infected pet before it has received proper treatment.If you need to have contact with animal tissues or urine, wear protective clothing, such as gloves and boots, especially if you are occupationally at risk (veterinarians, farm workers, and sewer workers).As a general rule, always wash your hands after handling your pet or anything that might have your pet's excrement on it.If you are cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated or have urine from an infected pet on them, use an antibacterial cleaning solution or a solution of 1 part household bleach in 10 parts water.Make sure that your infected pet takes all of its medicine and follow up with your veterinarian.For a summary of important information at a glance, view this fact sheet :http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis/pdf/fact-sheet.pdfFor more detailed information on leptospirosis and the pet and human health implications, click on this website:Author: Robert Z Berry, DVMSources: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/8/13-0450_article; cdc.gov leptospirosis related articles