Leptospirosis: A zoonotic disease of global importance

Ajay R. Bharti, Jarlath E. Nally, Jessica N. Ricaldi, Michael A. Matthias, Monica M. Diaz, Michael A. Lovett, Paul N. Levett, Robert H. Gilman, Michael R. Willig, Eduardo Gotuzzo, Joseph M. Vinetz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1466 Scopus citations


In the past decade, leptospirosis has emerged as a globally important infectious disease. It occurs in urban environments of industrialised and developing countries, as well as in rural regions worldwide. Mortality remains significant, related both to delays in diagnosis due to lack of infrastructure and adequate clinical suspicion, and to other poorly understood reasons that may include inherent pathogenicity of some leptospiral strains or genetically determined host immunopathological responses. Pulmonary haemorrhage is recognised increasingly as a major, often lethal, manifestation of leptospirosis, the pathogenesis of which remains unclear. The completion of the genome sequence of Leptospira interrogans serovar lai, and other continuing leptospiral genome sequencing projects, promise to guide future work on the disease. Mainstays of treatment are still tetracyclines and β -lactam/cephalosporins. No vaccine is available. Prevention is largely dependent on sanitation measures that may be difficult to implement, especially in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-771
Number of pages15
JournalLancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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