The etiology, pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of Leptospirosis


Petrauskaite Ieva1, Vytaute Rimdzeviciute1, Tomas Sarnauskas1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania



Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonosis caused by pathogenic species of Leptospira. Wild animals and rodents, especially rats, are the main reservoir of these bacteria – they spread microorganisms with urine. Leptospires enter the human’s body through skin abrasions or by penetrating the oral cavity, nasal, conjunctival membranes during the time of direct (with the urine of infected animal) or indirect contact (contaminated water or soil). There are two phases of Leptospirosis: septicemic, during which the main symptoms are fever, nausea, myalgia, headache, and immune, during which the most complications appear. Aichteric form of Leptospirosis has mild symptoms, while ichetric form, also known as Weil’s disease, is a severe one characterized by jaundice and complications such as acute renal failure, pulmonary hemorrhage, and thrombocytopenia. Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of clinical manifestations because this disease affects different systems of the human’s body. The most common neurological symptom is aseptic meningitis. During severe forms of Leptospirosis, pulmonary manifestations can occur and they vary from mild (cough, dyspnea) to severe such as pulmonary hemorrhage and ARDS. It is important not to miss ocular symptoms, which can manifest in the early stages or up to 18 months. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdomen pain, acalculous cholecystitis, and pancreatitis can occur during illness. This article aims to review the pathogenesis, etiology of Leptospirosis, and clinical manifestations.

Keywords: Leptospirosis, pathogenesis of Leptospirosis, clinical manifestations.