Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease of worldwide prevalence, though the majority of infections occur in warm, tropical climates. Wild mammals, typically rodents, are the primary, natural reservoir for pathogenic strains of Leptospira, however, domestic animals (eg, dogs) also represent a major source of human infection. The clinical manifestations of leptospirosis can vary, ranging from a mild, flu-like illness (eg, headache, malaise, fever, arthralgia, fatigue) to fulminant disease, with severe liver and kidney involvement. The latter manifestation was previously referred to as Weil disease. Leptospira organisms may be found in the blood at the onset of disease and can persist for approximately 1 week. Subsequently, spirochetes may be found in the urine and can persist for 2 to 3 months; however, shedding may be intermittent and the numbers of organisms present may be low.
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