Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria spread through the urine of infected animals. It can infect humans and animals when they have contact with urine, or with water, soil or food that has been in contact with urine. Leptospirosis can enter the body through skin that has been broken or through the eyes, nose or mouth. Leptospirosis is not usually spread person to person.
Leptospirosis is not common in NYC. There is an average of three reported human cases in NYC each year. Rats are the most common source of leptospirosis.
You can become sick between two days and four weeks after exposure. Some infected people may have no symptoms. Others may have a mild illness with:
On rare occasions, severe illness can develop. This may cause kidney failure, liver failure or meningitis.
Rats are the most common source of leptospirosis. The best way to prevent leptospirosis is to avoid contact with rats. You can prevent leptospirosis by also following these tips:
See a health care provider if you think you have leptospirosis. You may need to take blood tests or start antibiotics.
Leptospirosis has been reported in dogs throughout the city. Ask your veterinarian if your dog should get vaccinated.
Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs include:
If you think your pet may have leptospirosis, contact your veterinarian immediately.