Leptospirosis: Know the causes, symptoms, and precautions to take for this monsoon disease

Following heavy rainfall in Mumbai, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued an advisory warning about leptospirosis, a bacterial disease.

Last year in July, BMC reported 14 leptospirosis cases. In 2019, it recorded 74 leptospirosis cases in the same month.

According to Dr Mugdha Tapdiya, senior consultant, Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, this disease usually affects animals and can spread to human beings if they are travelling through waterlogged areas. “Bacteria called leptospira which present in the excreta and urine of animals can infect human beings if they are exposed to it – they can be exposed if they are wading through contaminated water, if there is a cut in the skin which has been exposed to the bacteria.”

Symptoms and treatment

The common symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, rash, body ache, and vomiting. This can be treated with antibiotics.

However, if leptospirosis is left untreated, it can cause kidney damage and even prove to be fatal, Dr Tapdiya warned. “Long-term fever and kidney damage and can be treated easily with antibiotics – but fatal if not treated,” she added.

Precautions

To prevent contracting this disease, here are some precautions the doctor recommends:

*Avoid walking through stagnant water
*Wear closed footwear
*Dress all your wounds and cuts
*If you have walked through stagnant water, wash your arms and legs with soap and water.

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