Leptospirosis (Weil Disease) is caused by a bacterium known as Leptospira.

Many wild and domestic animals, including cattle, pigs, rodents and dogs can carry Leptospira. Some infected animals become sick, while others show no signs of illness. Some animals become long term carriers of the disease. Leptospirosis has been shown to be spread by infected ticks in experiments.

Humans usually become infected when coming in contact with water or soil contaminated with urine of infected animals. Symptoms begin 3-21 days after exposure.

Symptoms can include:

  • High fever and chills
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Red eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Meningitis
  • Rash
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe bleeding
  • Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions can occur while treating

Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics, however, the protocol may not be curative.

The epidemiology of leptospirosis in the United States