lepto - Yanting Wang BIOMI 4040 Leptospirosis: The...

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Yanting Wang BIOMI 4040 Leptospirosis: The water-lover’s disease Recently, a growing number of people in Ireland have fallen victim to leptospirosis, a disease commonly found in urban environments of industrialized and developing countries. According to Promed- mail (Jan. 10, 2010), this disease resulted in seventeen hospitalizations and one death. Ten people picked up the illness on farms and nine others from water related activities such as canoeing, swimming, and triathlon. According to Dr. Darina O’Flanagen, head of the Health Protection Surveilance Center, there has been an increase in the disease, which seems to occur mostly in adult men. Leptospirosis in Ireland is usually transmitted through rats, although milder forms can be transmitted through cattle and dogs. When such animals become infected, they can then contaminate a water source by urinating into it. People participating in water-sports and water related activities could then come into close contact with infected water through eye, mouth, nose, or cuts. The outbreak of leptospirosis in Ireland serves as a reminder that people in a developed country are also at risk of acquiring this disease. (Promed, 2010) Leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s Disease or Caniicola fever is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira . Leptospira affects not only humans but also a wide range of animals including birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Leptospirosis is transmitted through the urine of an infected animal and can be contagious as long as it remains moist. Although primary hosts (reservoir) of these bacteria are rats, voles, and mice, other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, raccoons, possums, skunks, and certain marine animals can also carry and transmit the disease as secondary hosts. Contact with infected urine is not the only way one can obtain this disease. Leptospirosis can also be transmitted by the semen of infected animal. Although there is little human-to-human transmission, humans can easily become infected through contact with water, food, and soil containing urine infected blood or body fluids of animals. (Leptosporosis Information Center) Leptospiral infection in humans can cause an array of symptoms. Leptospirosis begins with flu-like symptoms such as fevers, chills, myalgias (muscle pains), and headache. As this first phase resolves, the patient is briefly asymptomatic. The second phase of the disease involves meningitis, liver damage, renal failure, pulmondary distress, and death (Adler and Moctezuma, 2009). Because of the wide range of
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symptoms, the leptospirosis is often misdiagnosed. The treatment of leptospirosis is rather complicated and comprises of two main components. The first component is to suppress the causative agent and the second is to treat possible complications. Antibiotics, such as doxycycline or penicillin, are used and should be administered early in the course of the disease. Intravenous antibiotics may be required for those with more
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lepto - Yanting Wang BIOMI 4040 Leptospirosis: The...

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