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Weil's disease: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About weil's disease

Weil's disease (also known as leptospirosis), is a bacterial disease caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals. The disease was first described by Adolf Weil in 1886.

Weil's disease: Incidence, age & sex

It is one of the most common zoonotic diseases, favoured by a tropical climate and flooding during the monsoon.Annual rates of infection vary from 0.02 per 100,000 in temperate climates to 10 to 100 per 100,000 in tropical climates. No evidence suggests that leptospirosis affects persons of various races, ages, or sexes differently.

Signs and symptoms of weil's disease : Diagnosis

The incubation period averages 1 – 2 weeks. There is high fever accompanied by weakness, muscle pain and tenderness (especially of the calf and back), tense headache and photophobia and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Conjunctival congestion is the only notable physical sign. The illness comes to an end after about 1 week.

Causes and prevention of weil's disease

It is causes by the organism Leptospira interrogans. Leptospires can enter their human hosts through intact skin or mucous membranes but entry is facilitated by cuts and abrasions. Prolonged immersion in contaminated water will also favour invasion. Leptospirosis is common in the tropics and also in freshwater sports enthusiasts.

Prevention is mainly by rodent control and establishment of a proper drainage system.Infection with L. interrogans can also be prevented by taking prophylactic doxycycline 200mg weekly.

Weil's disease : Complications

Icteric leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) occurs in less than 10% of symptomatic infections There is fever, hemorrhages, jaundice and renal impairment. Renal failure may occur.

Weil’s disease may also be associated with myocarditis , encephalitis and aseptic meningitis. Uveitis and iritis may appear months after apparent clinical recovery.

Weil's disease: Treatment

Definitive diagnosis of leptospirosis depends upon isolation of the organism, serological tests or the detection of specific DNA.

Therapy with either doxycycline or intravenous penicillin has been reported to be effective but many not prevent the development of renal failure.Parenteral ceftriaxone 1 g daily is as effective as penicillin. The general care of the patient is also important. Haemorrhage should be treated by prompt blood transfusion. The renal damage is reversible and peritoneal dialysis or haemodialysis may be life-saving.