Other Spirochetal Diseases and the Mycoses
ICD 100. Leptospires infect many wild vertebrates throughout the world. All pathogenic leptospires are now said to belong to the one species, L. interrogans (Topley and Wilson, 1983/ 1984). Van der Hoeden (1964, pp. 252-260, 268, 269) gives tables of the Leptospira species and the species of the host; orders naturally infected include Marsupialia, Insectivora, Chiroptera, Edentata, Lagomorpha, Rodentia, Camivora, and Artiodactyla. Indeed, leptospirosis seems to be one of the most widespread of all the zoonoses. It is also one of the most widespread of all the anthropozoonoses. Man is an incidental host, usually infected from mud, soil, or water contaminated by urine carrying leptospires. Thus, man is infected when at his occupations, sports, hobbies, or war. Leptospirosis sometimes leads to a severe disease. The incubation period of the disease is usually 7 to 13 days. The clinical signs are variable, but severe cases usually have jaundice with fever, neutrophil leucocytosis, renal signs, and hemorrhages; any of the major body systems may be attacked. Case fatality is often high. Treatment with antibiotics, particularly penicillin, is effective if delivered early in the disease.