Last edited 11/2022 and last reviewed 11/2022

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which is acquired through direct or indirect contact with animals, especially rodents.

Leptospirosis typically presents as a nonspecific, acute febrile illness characterized by fever, myalgia, and headache and may be confused with other entities such as influenza and dengue fever (1)

The commonest form, also called Weil's disease, is caused by Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae. About 10 to 15% of patients with Weil's disease become severely ill with:

  • a 'flu-like illness, followed by,
  • jaundice
  • haemorrhage
  • renal impairment

The majority suffer a benign self-limiting illness without jaundice.

Leptospira canicola usually presents as an aseptic meningitis.


  • Haake DA, Levett PN. Leptospirosis in humans. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2015;387:65-97