During the first phase, the usual symptoms occur. However, the person recovers but then gets ill again. This is also called the acute or febrile phase when the bacteria circulates in the blood causing the classic symptoms. This phase lasts for 2-9 days and may be followed by a period of apparent improvement.
The second phase of leptospirosis cases usually involves more severe symptoms. In this phase, leptospirosis can cause kidney or liver failure, or meningitis. Characterized by the recurrence of fever and development of complications and severe symptoms.
Severe symptoms of leptospirosis include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Breathing problems characterized by recurrence of fever and development of complications and severe symptoms
- Meningitis (swelling of membranes around the brain and spinal cord)
Once given the proper treatment, a person suffering from leptospirosis can recover in just a few weeks’ time. However, if left untreated, leptospirosis can persist for months.
What Puts Me at Risk of Leptospirosis?
Although leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonotic disease, it most usually occurs in temperate or tropical climates. It is also a disease associated with poverty, poor housing and sanitation, and flooding. People with the following occupations are most at risk of acquiring the disease:
- Dairy farmers
- Sewer workers
- Veterinarians or animal caretakers
People with these types of occupations are at risk of getting infected because their jobs expose them to the outdoors or animals.
Recreational activities such as the following can also put you at risk of leptospirosis:
- Water sports (such as kayaking or white water rafting)
These recreational activities put you at risk of leptospirosis because you’ll be interacting with soil or potentially contaminated bodies of water like rivers.